Clean-shaven Helton in the lineup
Rockies first baseman Todd Helton survived. The beard and goatee that has been a part of him for recent years, however, is gone.
Helton was in the dugout when Carlos Gonzalez’s line drive smashed into his left shin during the ninth inning of Friday night’s 7-5 loss to the D-backs. Amazingly, Helton ws feeling no ill effects on Saturday and was back in the lineup. The pain had numbed his leg from his calf to his foot.
When Helton showed up at Chase Field on Saturday, Rockies manager Jim Tracy did a double-take, and not just because Helton was pain-free.
“He came into my office today and said he was my new first baseman,” Tracy said, joking about the new look. “I said, ‘Welcome to the team.’”
Tracy said the foul ball was frightening for everyone in the dugout.
“Somebody was looking out for us, I’ll tell you that right now,” Tracy said. “If that ball had hit him in the chest or in the face, there would have been serious, serious problems. We don’t have our first baseman here. He’s done.”
Helton is batting third in a left-handed lineup against D-backs right-hander Max Scherzer. five of the first seven hitters swing from the left.
Saturday is a big game for the Rockies. The Dodgers blasted the Giants, 12-1, earlier Saturday, which means the Rockies have a chance to pump their lead in the National League Wild Card race to 3 1/2 games.