KANSAS CITY -- When Troy Tulowitzki stepped into the batter's box against Royals starter Jason Vargas on Wednesday, it was an official Long Beach State reunion.
Tulowitzki and Vargas were college teammates for the Dirtbags in 2004 and have remained friends over the years.
"There's some bragging rights and you always get a little extra pumped up for that," Tulowitzki said. "At the end of the day, no matter what happens, we'll be friends. The cool thing about it is, we both like competing at the highest level. It's a friendly rivalry."
The competition between friends didn't last long. After walking in the first inning, Tulowitzki was called out on strikes in the fourth and subsequently ejected by home-plate umpire Dan Bellino for arguing about the 3-2 pitch.
Tulowitzki recalls that Vargas was an accomplished hitter at Long Beach State.
"I thought he was a better hitter than pitcher at that time," Tulowitzki said. "But now, he has really developed into a good pitcher. He has gotten better and smarter as a pitcher every single year. Jason is reserved, professional and a guy who always has your back if he's your friend. Just a great guy. I can't say enough good things about him."
Weiss likes Rox position at one-quarter mark
KANSAS CITY -- The Rockies nudged past the quarter pole at 23-18 after Tuesday's 5-1 loss to the Royals and manager Walt Weiss gives his club high marks for what it accomplished in the opening one-fourth of the season.
"Looking at the first quarter of the season, I feel like we're in pretty good position," Weiss said. "We've had three guys out of our starting rotation at times and we've still got two out now [Brett Anderson and Tyler Chatwood both on the DL]. We lost a batting champion [outfielder Michael Cuddyer] and [catcher Wilin] Rosario has been out a few weeks. Our guys have done a nice job of dealing with the injuries."
The Rockies had won nine of 11 before dropping four of five entering Wednesday's road trip finale. During that downturn, Colorado ran into some pitching aces and the offense bogged down. As the second quarter of the season unfolds, Weiss hopes to see his club win some low-scoring games when the Rockies run into stout pitching opponents.
That puts the burden on Colorado's pitching and defense to bail out the offense at times.
"We've run into some front-line pitchers who have been at the top of their game," Weiss said. "But sometimes, you've got to win 2-1 or 3-2. You've got to go through those type of guys to win a division."
Rockies' schedule providing some down time
KANSAS CITY -- After the heavy workload they experienced through the opening six weeks of the season, the Rockies must feel like they are getting a mini-vacation this week.
Colorado had played 40 games in 42 days prior to an off-day on Monday. They'll get another off-day on Thursday before opening a weekend home series against San Diego on Friday. The Rockies will enjoy their third off-day in a week's span next Monday.
"It has been an interesting schedule," manager Walt Weiss said. "I don't think I've ever been with a club that started the season with a schedule like this."
Having three off-days in a one-week span will enable the Rockies to get a break mentally as well as physically.
"I don't think [the players] are going to complain," Weiss said. "You aren't used to having to grind in April and May. Hopefully, it makes us stronger in the end."
Robert Falkoff is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.