Rockies' Helton Returns to Old Form This Spring

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Rockies' Helton Returns to Old Form This Spring
(Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)

September 18, 2007

 

Bottom of the ninth, two strikes, two outs.

 

With the Rockies barely clinging to any chance of a playoff run, Todd Helton did what was necessary.

 

The veteran let loose with a dramatic walk-off home run, arguably one of the most emotional home runs in franchise history, to keep the team in the playoff hunt.

 

He lifted his teammates onto his back and carried them through the next 20 games (19 wins), clinching the Wild Card and sweeping their way to the World Series.

 

 

September 18, 2008

 

One year later and Todd Helton’s season was already finished as he began to prepare for offseason back surgery.

 

Over the winter, nearly every fan from Colorado was at Helton’s neck, bashing him and saying that he couldn’t come back. “He’s too old,” “the surgery is hard to overcome,” “he needs to retire and give back his money,” were all responses.

 

 

March 8, 2009

 

Todd Helton returns to the lineup with a towering 450-foot home run in his first at-bat since the surgery.

 

Perhaps the greatest player to ever don a Rockies’ uniform, Helton has shown that he is back this spring.

 

A lifetime .328 hitter with 310 career home runs in 12 seasons, Helton’s aging back began to wear on him in 2008, causing him to miss nearly half of the season and hit below .300 for the first time in any full season of his career.

 

Despite the concern of whether his surgically-repaired back can withstand an entire season of play, Helton has shown his critics that he is back to his old form and ready to compete again.

 

In 12 games this spring, Helton has hit .515 with an on-base percentage of .568 and a slugging percentage of 1.000. In 33 at-bats, the veteran has converted 17 into hits, including four doubles, four home runs, and 14 RBI.

 

Helton is among a list of players with four home runs this spring training. However, of those players sitting ahead of him, only three players have hit a home run more often than Helton. The smooth-swinging lefty has hit a home run once every 8.25 at bats this spring.

 

Helton and the Rockies beat up on the Diamondbacks Monday afternoon in the Rockies’ final home spring training game.

 

The first baseman was the root of the explosive offense, going 4-4, and raising his batting average above .500. He currently ranks fourth among all players this spring with more than 10 at-bats.

 

Helton is here to prove that he can return to his old form.

 

Let’s hope that he can carry the Rockies to the playoffs again. This time, though, please, don’t put all the weight on your new back.

 

 

** This article is also featured on MLBlogs **

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