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Todd Helton watches his 3-run home run sail into the right field bleachers during the Rockies 7-5 victory over the Dodgers at Coors Field on April 6, 2011.
One of the biggest concerns of the offseason for the Rockies organization was the strength of Todd Helton's back. Well, worry no more, because Todd Helton is back.
After a miserable 2010 season in which his chronic back pains made the proud Helton a shell of his former self and a liability in the heart of the Rockies' order, Helton spent the 2011 offseason strengthening his back and preparing to show that 2010 was a fluke rather than the beginning of the end.
Consider the hometown fans sold. Helton has come through in the clutch, knocking in a run on his first at bat of the season and crushing a three-run blast against Dodgers starter Chad Billingsley on Wednesday afternoon at Coors. (Heck, on a windier day, Helton might have had three home runs, as he followed his home run with two deep fly-ball outs to left and center field.)
Not to mention that Helton is back to his discerning self, earning walks and frequently working pitchers deep into counts, allowing his teammates to get a better sense of the pitcher's repertoire, and tiring the pitchers both mentally and physically. It's the Helton way.
And, of course, Helton's presence in the clubhouse cannot be understated. In the most intriguing interview of the first week of broadcasts on the newly-branded Root Sports Rocky Mountain, Helton gave greater insight into the scrutiny facing Troy Tulowitzki and Carlos Gonzalez after signing their mega-deals with the Rockies this past offseason.
Tulo and CarGo, like the rest of the club, will benefit from a veteran leader like Helton making sure they don't try to do too much to prove their worth. As Helton noted on Root, baseball is a game of failure, and it's how you deal with the failures that make you a success.
If 2010 was Helton's failure, prepare for the success that will be his 2011.