LOS ANGELES -- Josh Rutledge became an immediate success for the Rockies in 2012, hitting .274 with eight home runs, 37 RBIs and seven stolen bases in less than half a season. Named the Opening Day starter at second base this spring, 2013 hasn't been all that Rutledge or the Rockies had hoped for.
"He's fighting through some of the adjustments that you have to fight through in this league, especially as a young player," said manager Walt Weiss. "When you first come up and you have early success, it's tough to sustain up here."
While the power and speed is there, Rutledge enters Friday's game against the Dodgers hitting .212 and spent part of May and June with Triple-A Colorado Springs. He is hitting only .145 since his return.
Weiss, however, has confidence in Rutledge, who sat out Friday's game at Dodger Stadium.
"He has a lot of abilities," Weiss said. "He's a great athlete. He's struggling through that right now, but I believe his athleticism and his tools as a baseball player are well above average."
When it comes to struggling players Weiss know what he's talking about. His second big league season didn't go quite so well either after he was the 1988 American League Rookie of the Year Award winner with Oakland.
"I had a tough second year," he said. "I had plenty of times where I struggled, didn't play well, didn't perform. Everyone goes through it."
The bottom line for both Rutledge and Weiss is confidence.
"You have to be mentally tough to play up here and have success up here, and he's done that. The next challenge is fighting through those tough stretches and not losing your confidence," Weiss said. "Everyone gets beat up in this league."
Tulo's hitless return small price for All-Star shortstop
LOS ANGELES -- Two of the best shortstops in baseball returned to action Thursday night, with decidedly different results. For the Rockies' Troy Tulowitzki, it was an 0-for-4 night with three strikeouts, but more importantly, he finished the game feeling fine.
"He said he felt pretty good last night," said manager Walt Weiss, "which is kinda funny, since he struck out three times."
In New York, Yankees captain Derek Jeter went 1-for-4 with an RBI and a run scored, but he strained his right quadriceps and will not play again before the All-Star break.
"He was out for nine months, so that's a little different," said Tulowitzki, who missed nearly a month with a broken rib. "You really can't simulate some of those things in Minor League games. The speed is different and it something you can't get used to."
Tulowitzki's injury didn't involve his legs, but he knew he had to make sure he was cautious.
"I'm definitely being careful, making sure my legs are under me and slowly working into it instead of going all out," he admitted, adding that "sometimes your instincts take over and you have to make a move that your body's not ready for."
With Tulowitzki's history of injuries, he's more aware of making sure he doesn't do any harm.
"Last year I had a groin injury, came back and then had to have surgery," he said. "It was just being back on the field again at game speed."
For Tulowitzki, it means trying to control himself and be aware of situations, when to go all out and when to be more cautious.
"It's still there in the back of your mind, always," he said.
For the Rockies, maybe a few strikeouts the first night back wasn't such a bad thing.
As for someone who's spent more than his share of time on the disabled list, Tulowitizki understood what Jeter must be going through.
"I feel for him," he said.
Glenn Rabney is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.