Helton sits Game 1 with flu-like symptoms

Helton sits Game 1 with flu-like symptoms

DENVER -- As the Rockies prepare to play just their fourth game in six days, Todd Helton will be out of the lineup for the second time in that span.

A perennial iron man, who in 2009 logged his ninth season with over 151 games, Helton has missed eight games in the season's first six weeks, including the opener of Saturday's doubleheader. Former MVP Jason Giambi will start in place of Helton and hit fifth.

"We switched out Giambi and Todd Helton because Todd was not feeling well at all last night," manager Jim Tracy said Saturday morning. "He was vomiting all night. So he's the most recent guy to grab hold of whatever it was that we found our way to grab hold of on the road."

The Rockies were hit with a bug on their recent West Coast road trip, with several team members suffering, including Tracy himself, Miguel Olivo, Ubaldo Jimenez, and, most notably, Rafael Betancourt, who went eight days between appearances as a result of illness. Helton also missed a start due to flu-like symptoms on the previous homestand.

"I was told this morning he's feeling much better," Tracy said. "But if we were going to not play him both ends of the doubleheader, which I wasn't going to, we'd be in better shape if we moved him back to the second game, instead of the first game, and allow him to get some food back in him and regain some strength. He feels much better. However, whatever it is, it got him too."

Giambi started for Helton on Monday, after the team got back from the road trip, and went 3-for-4 with three RBIs to raise his average by 101 points and break out of his 2-for-22 early-season slump.