ARLINGTON -- Rockies first baseman Todd Helton being dropped one spot in the batting order Friday night against Texas had more to do with Interleague Play than his 2-for-13 hitting during this road trip, manager Jim Tracy said. Jason Giambi served as designated hitter and batted fourth against pitcher Roy Oswalt, a former Astros star making his Rangers debut. Michael Cuddyer hit fifth, followed by Helton. "Putting an extra left-handed bat behind [Carlos] Gonzalez filters Cuddyer down one and Todd down one, so the only reason that comes into play we have the DH tonight," Tracy said.
The current slump and Helton's overall stats -- a .234 batting average, with seven home runs and 32 RBIs -- raise questions about the health of his back, which has given him trouble for several years. Every stiff-looking run and swing, and every violent dive he makes trying to field a ball defensively, conjures questions about his health. Helton, 38, said his problems are more mental than physical. "I've got different thoughts going through my head, just too many of them," Helton said. "I need to get one thought, stick with it and start hitting the baseball. "I don't feel great, but I don't feel bad. I'm still physically able." Addressing whether Helton is healthy, Tracy said, "I've not heard anything to the contrary and if he wasn't, I think I would have."