Spilborghs activated in time to face lefty

Spilborghs activated in time to face lefty

DENVER -- Rockies outfielder Ryan Spilborghs couldn't have picked a better day than Monday to return after missing 47 games with a strained left oblique.

Manager Clint Hurdle started Spilborghs in right field Monday afternoon in a lineup consisting totally of right-handed-hitting position players against Giants left-hander Jonathan Sanchez.

Spilborghs is 4-for-8 with two doubles, an RBI and a walk this season against Sanchez, who is returning after missing two weeks with a shoulder injury.

Spilborghs was batting .314 with six home runs and 33 RBIs in 72 games when he was injured while running the bases during a game at Milwaukee on July 8.

"It's perfect," said Spilborghs, who hit .322 last September and was an important figure in the Rockies' late-season run to the playoffs. "Obviously, I would have liked to have been back right away, but after the wait and the process, I'm excited to be back."

It wasn't until two weeks ago that the injury healed. Spilborghs admitted not knowing much about such injuries until he fell victim to the side strain.

"When you run, you use it, when you hit and throw, when you sneeze or laugh or go to the bathroom or do anything, you're using that muscle," Spilborghs said. "Anything you do is pretty much surrounding that silly muscle."

Hurdle said he wanted to put Spilborghs on the field "sooner than later," and factors other than his success against Sanchez weighed into his lineup decisions. Spilborghs replaced the left-handed-hitting Brad Hawpe and Jeff Baker started at third in place of left-handed-hitting Ian Stewart.

"Offensively, the last couple of days have been hard on us," Hurdle said. "We've got some guys on the backside of their offensive games that maybe a little rest will help them get things tightened up. [Tuesday], the guy [Tim Lincecum] is pretty quick on the mound and we need to be short with our strokes."

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