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08/14/08 2:49 PM ET

Atkins doesn't start third straight game

Strep throat hinders Rockie, who may pinch-hit on Thursday

DENVER -- This wasn't the kind of rest Garrett Atkins was hoping for.

After missing just three games all season, Atkins has been sidelined the past three days with strep throat. He was so sick Tuesday that Rockies manager Clint Hurdle sent him home, and he was still out of commission Wednesday.

Atkins arrived at Coors Field before Thursday's rubber game against Arizona, but he was still not feeling well and was held out of the lineup for the third straight game.

"Still hurts," said Atkins, who assured a reporter he was on antibiotics and no longer contagious. "It's not as bad as it was, though, so that's good."

Chicken soup and hot tea with honey is usually a good remedy for a soar throat, but Atkins was too sick for either.

"I couldn't swallow hardly at all, so I couldn't eat or drink much fluids," he said. "I was tired and just laying around and kept falling asleep most of the day."

Atkins began to feel a little better Wednesday night, prompting him to come to the ballpark Thursday despite still feeling weak.

Hurdle didn't rule out using Atkins as a late-inning pinch-hitter against the D-backs.

"I think he just finally put some food in him, and we're going to try to get him out [doing] some baseball-related activity," Hurdle said. "Swing the bat in the cage, ride the bike and jog a little bit, and see how he goes from there."

Atkins' sickness couldn't have come at a worse time. He was in the midst of a seven-game hitting streak and was hitting a team-best .444 on this homestand with seven RBIs.

"It was unfortunate that it happened, but you just deal with it and go forward," he said.

Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.