Rockies managing Hawkins' workload

Veteran reliever doing well with more rest between appearances

Rockies managing Hawkins' workload

SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies reliever LaTroy Hawkins' right arm needed just a little more rest after heavy usage during the Rockies' last homestand and wasn't used Friday and Saturday against the Giants in situations that could have been his.

Hawkins missed seven weeks earlier in the year with right biceps tendinitis, so extra recovery time for his 42-year-old arm is reality. He didn't even pick up a baseball Friday, when the Rockies won a wild, 8-6 decision, and manager Walt Weiss didn't make him an option during Saturday's 7-5 loss. He faced one batter Sunday and struck him out to end the sixth inning.

"I could've pitched yesterday, but then I'd have been down two more days," Hawkins said before Sunday's series finale. "I've had to pay closer attention to how I feel the last three or four years. Last year was a different situation because I was closing and wasn't getting that many opportunities, so I was a little fresher."

Hawkins began feeling pain during Spring Training and struggled at the beginning of the season, to the point that he lost the closer job. But in his first eight games after returning, Hawkins has given up one run in 6 2/3 innings. He allowed a .269 average in those games, but struck out seven against one walk.

So if he's not used too often, Hawkins is a viable middle-relief option.

"I check in with all the relievers every day, but with some of the issues LaTroy has had this year, we want to be pretty conservative with him," Weiss said. "So I tried to stay off of him the last couple of days. Usually, there is a guy or two about every day that ideally I'd like to stay away from."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.