Atkins abound with energy for Rox

Atkins abound with energy for Rox

PITTSBURGH -- Counting Wednesday night's game against the Pirates, Garrett Atkins has started in all but five of the Rockies' 109 games this season. His last day off was May 31.

It would seem moving to first base, where he started for the 11th straight time Wednesday, would be a little less taxing, but that is not so.

"I don't throw as much and do things like that," Atkins said. "I'm over there catching the ground balls and flipping to first and things like that. But on the other hand, there is a little more responsibility on cutoffs and pickoffs, so it probably evens out."

There is little reason to worry about Atkins from a fatigue standpoint, however. He never gets tired of hitting.

Atkins went 0-for-7 in the first two games of the Rockies' series with the Pirates, but he had 24 RBIs in July entering Wednesday's matchup, tying the infielder for second most in the National League.

Although he figures to sit sometime during the club's current 10-game road trip, manager Clint Hurdle wasn't going to sit him Wednesday against Pirates left-hander Zach Duke. The right-handed-hitting Atkins' .411 batting average against left-handed pitchers was second only to the .444 posted by the Cardinals' Albert Pujols entering Wednesday.

The biggest forward step Atkins has taken is in RBI situations. He had just 21 RBIs in May and June.

Atkins' 338 RBIs since the 2005 season are seventh most among Major Leaguers over the same period. His swing wasn't clicking every day over that period, but he is confident in his ability to correct the inevitable little slumps.

"It works out well when you can draw back on things," Atkins said. "You know that no matter how bad your numbers are and how bad you're struggling, you know your good swing is not too far off. You've just got to get back to basics and think back to what's helped you get out of slumps in the past."

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