Notes: Hawpe held out of lineup

Notes: Hawpe held out of lineup

WASHINGTON -- Brad Hawpe was held out of the Rockies lineup for the second consecutive day as the team faced another left-handed pitcher, Mike Bacsik.

Hawpe has hit just .190 against lefties this season, but has hit .336 against right-handed pitchers. His spot in right field went to Ryan Spilborghs.

"It's really in the best interest of the ballclub to give those at-bats to Spilborghs right now," manager Clint Hurdle said.

Hawpe attributed the difference to the fact that he doesn't face left-handers as often, giving him fewer opportunities for hits.

"You get limited at-bats and limited confidence," he said. "You have to just go with it -- try to build things up and keep plugging along. It's just part of the game."

This is Hawpe's fourth season in the Major Leagues, and his numbers have improved every year. He said that each year he becomes more comfortable at the plate.

At the start of this season, the power went out of Hawpe's swing briefly, as he hit just one home run in his first 39 games. He has rebounded with 16 home runs in the 49 games since then.

"It's just part of hitting," he said. "Sometimes it takes a little bit to get going there at the beginning, but since I got going, things have been pretty good."

Hurdle said his next step was to work on his numbers against left-handed pitching, although the manager isn't sure what causes the large gap in the numbers.

"That's something we're still working on," he said. "I don't think the difference was that huge in the Minor Leagues, and in the Minor League system they play every day and face everybody who takes the mound."

Earlier this season, Hawpe played most of the games against left-handed pitchers, but that may change now that Spilborghs has emerged as an option. Spilborghs is hitting .436 against lefties, including a 2-for-4 performance on Friday night.

Kazuo Matsui was also given the day off on Saturday at second base. Jamey Carroll, a former National who has had success against left-handed pitching, got the nod. Hurdle said he wanted to keep Matsui fresh, but also provide Carroll with an opportunity to get some hits.

"He has a .300 average against left-handed pitchers," Hurdle said. "We need to take advantage of those things."

Pitcher acquired: The Rockies acquired left-handed pitcher Sean Thompson on a waiver claim from the Kansas City Royals. Thompson, a Colorado native, started on Friday night for Double-A Tulsa.

He was designated for assignment by the Padres on June 29, and was picked up by the Royals on July 3. They designated him for assignment on July 16.

In addition to the acquisition, the Rockies have moved right-handed pitcher Zach McClellan from the 15-day to the 60-day disabled list. McClellan had right shoulder surgery on June 21.

Thompson will take Tom Martin's place on the 40-man roster. Martin was designated for assignment following Thursday's game.

Spilborghs' big catch: A day after making a phenomenal catch to rob Brian Schneider of a home run, Spilborghs was the talk of the clubhouse after his play was named the day's best by "Baseball Tonight."

He had predicted he would get the nod the day before, and was not shy about reminding them of his accomplishment. Hurdle said the catch was the result of Spilborghs spending time practicing that play recently.

"That was goaltending," he said with a laugh. "It's not like he just ran into it, it's something he's been working on."

Rockies move into third: With Friday night's victory, Colorado moved into a tie for third place in the National League West. The Rockies and Diamondbacks are both 4 1/2 games out of first place.

The team has been recovering from a rough first month of the season, and Friday marks the first time since April 19 the Rox have been higher than fourth in the standings.

"I don't look at the standings," Hurdle said. "All I focus on is our game and our team."

Adjusting to RFK: RFK Stadium is the largest ballpark the Rockies will play in all year, and Hurdle wants his team to focus on keeping the ball on the ground because of that.

"You really need to hit ground balls and line drives here," he said. "Fly balls are not an option. We fell into that trap in the first game."

On Friday, the Rockies had 12 outs that came as the result of fly balls. There's also more room to run for the outfielders at RFK.

"You can take some chances here," Hurdle said. "You've got room to roam and go after balls."

Coming up: The final game between the Rockies and Nationals takes place on Sunday at 11:35 a.m. MT. Righties Josh Fogg (5-6, 5.15) and Tim Redding (1-2, 4.00) face off.

Michael Phillips is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.