DENVER (AP) -Troy Tulowitzki has a picture of Derek Jeter hanging above his locker, a testament to his admiration of the New York Yankees star.
Now if only Tulowitzki can get up the courage to walk over and ask Jeter for an autograph when the Rockies host to the Yankees in a three-game series beginning Tuesday night.
``I hope to get one,'' Tulowitzki said. ``He was my favorite player growing up and still is to this day.''
But he won't mention that to Jeter. Tulowitzki told the Los Angeles Dodgers' Nomar Garciaparra - another of his favorites - that he used to watch Garciaparra as a youngster.
Garciaparra raised his eyebrows at the comment. Tulowitzki received an autographed bat from Garciaparra only to have his last name spelled wrong.
``I made Nomar feel old,'' Tulowitzki said with a laugh. ``Hopefully, I don't do the same thing with Jeter.''
Tulowitzki is trying to treat the Yankees series as just another three-game set but it's difficult.
``With all the history and championships they've won and the attention they get, it's definitely neat to play them,'' Tulowitzki said.
Colorado manager Clint Hurdle feels the same way because the team reminds him of his father. Growing up in Michigan, Hurdle was an ardent Tigers fan while his dad was an ardent supporter of the Yankees. It made for interesting viewing when the two teams played.
``I would silently pull for the Tigers while my dad would vocally pull for the Yankees,'' Hurdle said. ``It's still (cool) to play the Yankees.''
The last time New York came to Denver in 2002 the Yankees scored 41 runs in winning two of the three games. It's the highest three-game run total by an opponent at Coors Field.
``There's no question they're capable of scoring runs,'' said pitcher Jeff Francis, who will face Andy Pettitte on Wednesday night. ``But we're capable of scoring runs, too.''
Colorado has won six of its last eight games while the Yankees have captured 11 of 12.
``With the maturation process of the ballclub, it's a series we'll look forward to playing,'' said Hurdle, whose team is 1-5 all-time against New York. ``They're on a roll, we're on a roll. They're going to have some experienced veteran pitchers on the mound. Our pitchers are looking forward to another opportunity of making the point that they're pretty good also.''
Rodrigo Lopez thinks the Yankees are following him. The right-handed pitcher came over from Baltimore in the offseason and who do the Rockies draw in interleague play? The AL East.
``It's a challenge,'' said Lopez, who will face Roger Clemens on Thursday. ``They can do damage early or late. They're always tough to get out.''
Francis grew up a Toronto Blue Jays fan, so he has a little extra incentive to beat New York.
``You might be a little more out to get them because they're always winning,'' Francis said. ``If you can beat a team like that, it looks good on you.''
Hurdle expects to see plenty of Yankees shirts and hats in the stands. That just goes with playing New York.
``It's kind of like the Beatles - they have that kind of following,'' Hurdle said. ``It's very special (to play them). We're going to embrace the game.''

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