Helton carried a .318 Cactus League batting average into Thursday's start against the Rangers and hit a two-run homer off the Rangers' Luis Mendoza in the fourth inning. But he knew going in that he'd need more at-bats than he would get in normal game action, so he'll serve as designated hitter in Minor League games.
When a veteran participates in a Minor League game, the rules are loosened. Helton is hoping to bat in every inning of games in which he participates.
"Hopefully, I'll find a rhythm," said Helton, who was so distressed by his swing that he insisted on extra batting practice after a game on Tuesday. "I can work on one thing and carry it over to the next at-bat."
The Rockies will play games in the Phoenix area, on Friday against the Mariners and Saturday against the Rangers. Helton has dealt with back problems for years and often skips bus trips.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.Less