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Colo. first baseman starts out hot with HR

Citizen Staff Writer



Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton hadn’t seen game pitching in months.

But that didn’t stop him from blasting a ball over the Green Monster at Hi Corbett Field for a home run on his first spring appearance Sunday.

San Diego center fielder Jody Gerut kept racing back before finally looking up and seeing the ball sail over the approximately 35-foot wall in the Rockies’ 4-2 victory over the Padres.

“He left it over the middle of the plate and I did what I was supposed to do with it,” Helton said. “It is just one at-bat. I have to be better for a long period of time.”

Helton, who played only two games after July 4 last year due to severe back pain, received a standing ovation from a crowd of 4,927 while running around the bases at Hi Corbett Field after his two-run blast against pitcher Chris Young.

Helton has not been rushed into action after having surgery in September to relieve pressure from nerves in his back. He finished up going 1 for 2 after popping up in the second inning to right field.

The rest of Helton’s schedule has yet to be determined.

“It’s a spring training moment to see him get back in that batter’s box and take some healthy swings,” Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. “You can play it out any way you want to play it out. It’s a spring training game. I just like the fact . . . he’s swinging the bat.”

Helton, who is a career .328 hitter, had a .264 batting average with seven homers and 29 RBIs.

On the field Sunday, Helton grabbed a soft grounder between first and second before flipping to the pitcher for the last out in the second inning, and stopped another grounder to open the third.

“It was good to get out there and get some ground balls and get back into the swing of the game and mentally be ready for every pitch,” Helton said.


San Diego vs. Arizona, 1:05 p.m., Tucson Electric Park; Rockies are idle

> More on Rockies and D’backs, 3C

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