Atkins becomes spot player

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle insisted that he’s not going to bury third baseman Garrett Atkins. But Saturday’s decision to start Ian Stewart at third base, on the heels of Stewart’s pinch-hitting for Atkins in the ninth inning Friday night, is a signal that Atkins’ playing time will be cut as he tries to work through a season-long slump.

“I’ve tried to find different ways to catch a fuse for him, and yesterday it was putting him in the cleanup spot based on a matchup and faith,” Hurdle said. “I had a nice conversation with him today, a very engaging and challenging conversation about what we’re going to do together, what we need to do for him, what he needs to do for himself to get him back in a spot in the lineup we’d like to have him in.

“But right now we’ve got to go out there the best way we can to win a ballgame. He understands that. I told him I’m not going to ice him, but I’m going to get him involved when I think it’s the right fit.”

This is a personal project for Hurdle, because the Rockies’ hitting coach, Don Baylor, is not with the club. According to Jack Etkin of insidetherockies.com, Baylor is being treated for pneumonia at a Denver-area hospital. 

Hurdle said the Rockies have tried everything, including the old, forget everything and just hit, approach. That didn’t work, so Hurdle is offering specific moves to help Atkins regain form and confidence.

Here are Saturday night’s lineups:

Rockies

Dexter Fowler                CF

Troy Tulowitzki               SS

Todd Helton                   1B

Brad Hawpe                   RF

Ryan Spilborghs             LF

Ian Stewart                    3B

Chris Iannetta                 C

Clint Barmes                 2B

Aaron Cook                    P

Pirates

Delwyn Young                RF

Freddy Sanchez             2B

Nate McLouth                CF

Adam LaRoche              1B

Brandon Moss                LF

Andy LaRoche                3B

Jason Jarmillo                  C

Jack Wilso                     SS

Ian Snell                          P

1 Comment

It’s about time Hurdle woke up. We probably could have had two or three more wins had he moved Atkins out of the line up, or at least out of the clean-up spot, earlier.

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