DENVER -- Rockies right fielder Brad Hawpe's lack of success against left-handed pitching this season is well-documented, and it was reported as the reason he sat out two of the three weekend games with the Marlins.
But he'd have rather faced Sandy Koufax, Steve Carlton or any other lefty in his prime than what he was battling. Hawpe revealed that for the past week, he suffered from a virus that created stomach problems, a large rash along the front of his body, and cost him several pounds.
It wasn't until Monday's off day when he felt better. Hawpe was back in the lineup on Tuesday afternoon for the first game of a key doubleheader against the Dodgers.
"I was pretty sick in Philadelphia, came home, and carried it over," said Hawpe, who said the illness began last Monday. "To have a break the last few days has been big. I rested, took the medicine, and got a good amount of sleep. I'll get ready for the last two weeks. We've got two weeks to do it or [not] do it."
Hawpe hopes to fare better than he has recently. He entered the doubleheader on an 0-for-14 skid that dropped his average 12 points, to .276.
But Hawpe, who batted .342 in his previous 11 games against the Dodgers, isn't dwelling on what has gone wrong.
"I'll go out there and try to drive guys in, try to score some runs," he said. "I don't want to break it down too much, because that doesn't help keep me from over-thinking. I break things down like everybody else, but when you spend too much time doing it, you're breaking it down in a negative way.
"Before you know it, you're feeling negative, you're thinking negative. The game's tough enough as it is. I'll do a little bit of work, then look past it and just think about the game situation."
On the Rox: Jeff Baker made the most of the playing time he received in Hawpe's absence, going 5-for-9 with a home run and two RBIs, showing he is past any fear that an Aug. 10 concussion -- suffered when he was hit by a pitch from the Cubs' Jason Marquis -- would not be a factor. "There's got to be a period of apprehension when you come back from that -- there was for me," said Rockies manager Clint Hurdle, who during his playing career was knocked out by standout pitcher Dwight Gooden. "It would be for most people. He's come back, stuck his nose in and has taken good swings." ... With Jamey Carroll mired in a 3-for-29 slump, the Rockies went with Omar Quintanilla at second base for the fifth time in the past eight games. "He's had some good at-bats and he's matched up better against right-handed pitching than anybody else," Hurdle said of Quintanilla. "We don't lose anything defensively." ... Hurdle said he'd like for regular second baseman Kazuo Matsui to face full-speed pitching in a simulated game before returning him to action.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.