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Notes: Hurdle shakes up lineup

Notes: Hurdle shakes up lineup

NEW YORK -- On Wednesday morning, the Rockies entered the Shea Stadium visitors clubhouse to see the lineup card hanging from masking tape that was attached to the ceiling.

Changing the position of the lineup card is one of the little moves a team makes in trying to change its luck. After taping it to the inside of the door Monday and to a bulletin board near the bathroom entrance Tuesday didn't work, why not go with the hanging lineup for Wednesday afternoon's finale of three games with the Mets?

Manager Clint Hurdle also went with different names in different places.

Hurdle wanted to give days off to third baseman Garrett Atkins, who was 0-for-10 at Shea, and second baseman Jamey Carroll, who had started 10 straight games since Kazuo Matsui went to the disabled list with a back strain.

Shortstop Troy Tulowitzki's name was placed in the second spot, simply because he was the best option there. Matt Holliday moved up from his customary fifth spot to third, Atkins' usual place, with John Mabry batting fifth at third base. Catcher Chris Iannetta returned to the lineup in the eighth spot and Clint Barmes made his first start at second base and hit eighth.

"I just gave it some thought, trying to look at guys that might be able to use a break and guys I need to infuse in the lineup to get at-bats," Hurdle said. "I'm just looking for a spark."

Put your lineup here: Maybe it'll come to the Rockies putting a lineup card beyond the outfield wall, with a "Hit it Here" message. The Rockies entered Wednesday on a club-record seven-game homerless streak, but John Mabry ended the drought with a three-run blast in the third inning.

The Rockies also were last in baseball with seven home runs.

With Holliday and Atkins having combined for 59 home runs last year, Brad Hawpe having hit 22 in his first full and uninjured season and Helton with his history of power, the lack of pop has been puzzling and frustrating for the Rockies.

"That's a sort of discouraging statistic, but it's early," said Holliday, whose .388 batting average was tied with the Marlins' Hanley Ramirez for the National League lead entering Wednesday's play. "And Coors Field is playing really big right now. There have been some balls hit that I'm pretty sure would be home runs in most parks, but just haven't been home runs in Coors Field this year.

"You just keep pressing on, pushing toward the next day, and try to have good at-bats. If you always worry about results, it can be a frustrating game."

Of course, keeping a good hitting approach and not worrying about home runs is the way to find power. But Hurdle knows that the players are well award that their long ball numbers are lacking.

"They're cognizant of everything," Hurdle said. "But [hitting coach Alan] Cockrell meets with them on a daily basis on everything -- preparation for the opposing team's starting pitching. They're aware of situational baseball.

"But you've got to watch yourself when you go up there. You've got a little guy on your shoulder, and we all run into that little guy. He's telling you, 'Eat the donut,' 'Don't eat the donut,' 'Drive fast,' 'Don't drive fast,' 'Hit a homer' ...

"They need a little guy that says, 'We need a good, team at-bat right here.'"

Up next: After being off on Thursday, the Rockies will begin a three-game set with the Braves on Friday at 7:05 p.m. MT at Coors Field, with left-hander Jeff Francis (1-2, 6.46 ERA) starting against lefty Chuck James (2-2, 4.22).

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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