Hawkins logs 1,000th career appearance

Hawkins logs 1,000th career appearance

LOS ANGELES -- Rockies right-hander LaTroy Hawkins has achieved a dependability that makes calling upon him routine. But Hawkins has fulfilled his routine so long and so well that the latest outing was a special occasion.

By retiring the only batter he faced on Saturday night's 6-5, 12-inning loss to the Dodgers at Dodger Stadium, Hawkins became the 16th pitcher in Major League history to appear in his 1,000th game. He is two games out of 15th place, held by Hall of Famer Goose Gossage.

"It' a very humbling accomplishment … when I get back to my room tonight, I'll sit down and think about it a little bit more," Hawkins said.

Hawkins forced a Darwin Barney fly ball to left field in the eighth, with the Rockies trailing by one run. Ben Paulsen's leadoff homer in the top of the ninth tied it, but the Rockies lost on lefty reliever Franklin Morales' wild pitch with a runner on third in the 12th.

Still, the occasion was celebrated. The team gathered in the clubhouse dining room and presented Hawkins with a bottle of Dom Perignon champagne and acknowledged and applauded the accomplishment.

"It was a good moment, and I feel privileged to be a part of it, to be able to hand him the ball for his 1,000th," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.

The night was special from the beginning. Hawkins was one of several Major Leaguers to help the Jackie Robinson West youth team with expenses for its trek to the Little League World Series, where it won the U.S. championship. The team was honored on the field at Dodger Stadium before the game. Hawkins grew up in Gary, Ind., and as a Little Leaguer played against the Jackie Robinson West program.

Hawkins also said a couple of former teammates -- he has many, having played on 10 teams, including making two tours with the Rockies -- made it even more special.

"One of the coolest things was my buddy, Eddie Guardado, and his family were in the stands -- Eddie hadn't been to a baseball game since he retired," said Hawkins, who was mentored by Guaradado when he broke in with the Twins in 1995. "He was one of the guys that was so consistent. We just followed him. His routine was so etched in stone that we followed him.

"And Glendon Rusch, one of my teammates in Chicago 10 years ago, gave me a bottle of Insignia 2000, and he signed it for me. He's a class act."

Hawkins began his career as a starter until going to the bullpen in 2000, and has pitched 1,428 2/3 career innings. The Rockies hold an option for 2015 worth $2.25 million.

"I do know I want to do it one more year, for sure," Hawkins said. "I would love for it to be here. I've been with 10 different teams, so you never know for sure. I would love to be back and I hope they would love to have me."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb, and like his Facebook page, Thomas Harding and Friends at www.Rockies.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.