Spilborghs starts in center in finale

Spilborghs starts in center in finale

DENVER -- Ryan Spilborghs started in center field and batted leadoff for the Rockies on Thursday in their series finale against the Giants.

Rockies manager Clint Hurdle hinted at making the switch from struggling starter Willy Taveras earlier this week, but a sore lower back kept Spilborghs out of the past few games. With Spilborghs fully recovered, Hurdle decided to finally make the change.

"I'm looking for production," Hurdle said. "I'm looking for somebody at the top of the lineup to get on [base] with consistency.

"Willy's trying hard, and he's doing all the things to work to get better, but right now he's not where we need him to be as far as getting on base."

Taveras is hitting .234 after going 1-for-4 with a single and two strikes outs Wednesday night. Spilborghs has a .310 average in 126 at-bats this season, but he's hitting .194 in the leadoff spot.

Hurdle said the move is not permanent, and he will continue to look for ways to keep Taveras in play.

"I'm not going to freeze anybody. I'm not going to put anybody out. It's not so much a sense of competition, I'm looking for performance."

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