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05/31/08 2:05 PM ET

Struggling Atkins sits on Saturday

Slumping third baseman is hitless over his past 16 at-bats

CHICAGO -- Garrett Atkins was the Rockies' best hitter over the first month and a half of the season. But since missing three games with a stiff neck and back spasms, Atkins has gone 1-for-18, and is hitless in 16 at-bats.

Given that, Rockies manager Clint Hurdle determined that Saturday's game against the Cubs at Wrigley Field was a good time for Atkins to rest. Ian Stewart, who notched three hits on Friday and is 5-for-12 (.417) over his past three games, took Atkins' place, batting fifth in the order and playing third.

"I talked to [Atkins] before the game," Hurdle said. "We're going to give him a breath of fresh air. We tried to revisit some things, identify some things, back away from it a day and see if we can get it back going for him tomorrow."

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