Tracy gives day of rest to Gonzalez, Helton

Tracy gives day of rest to Gonzalez, Helton

DENVER -- The Rockies rested a couple of their big guns Saturday as manager Jim Tracy tries to find down time for key players near the end of a 16-game stretch without a scheduled off-day.

Carlos Gonzalez was out of the lineup for the middle game of the Cubs series, with Ty Wigginton making his second start of the season in left field, and Todd Helton got the day off, with Jason Giambi spelling him at first base.

"CarGo's had a little bit of a tough time here the last two, three days," manager Jim Tracy said. "He does have some stiffness and soreness, nothing that is out of the ordinary or would be determined to be an injury."

Gonzalez is tied for the team lead in at-bats and games, but he is in a 3-for-24 slump and played through flu symptoms in New York, prompting Tracy to take him out of the lineup Saturday.

"Offensively, obviously he's struggling a little bit," Tracy said. "He's going to get going. When a guy is just getting a little something here and a little something there, where you know there's a lot more in there than what you've seen, this is probably a great time to get him away from it and let him catch his breath and then start back over again tomorrow."

Helton is on a roll, going 5-for-9 his last two games and posting a .364 average through 11 games, but with a night game Saturday and a day game Sunday, he figured to get one of those days off.

"Todd will be back tomorrow," Tracy said. "He has terrific history with Ryan Dempster [the Cubs' Sunday starter]. Todd's swinging the bat very, very reminiscent of a lot of what we saw in 2009. We've just been involved in a doubleheader, we traveled, he played that game; that second day is maybe when it hits an older player a little bit. We backed off of him because of the familiarization of the guy that's pitching against us tomorrow, and we'll plug him back in there tomorrow."

The Rockies have one player who has played every inning of the season, but Cal Ripken doesn't need to look over his shoulder at Troy Tulowitzki, as Tracy indicated he would probably get a day off Sunday, leaving the middle of the lineup well rested for the Giants series.

"To just grind on these guys to the point where you put yourself in a position to potentially break them, I don't want to lay in bed at night and think that that was the case," Tracy said. "I don't feel like I have any 'extra' men. I sit down every day and feel like we have 13 wonderful position players, and what is it that we can do to keep them all involved, to keep them all sharp?

"People need a chance to catch their breath periodically, especially when it's those type of guys that you're going to grind on for 138 or 140 plus games. You got to do it."