DENVER -- Rockies first baseman Todd Helton looked fit and jovial Monday morning, which happened to be the day he was eligible to return from the disabled list.
Although he is inching closer to recovery from a back strain that has kept him out since July 3, he was not in the lineup. But he's like the Rockies, who entered Monday afternoon's game with the Giants trailing the Diamondbacks by six games in the National League West.
Helton and the Rockies each have hope.
Manager Clint Hurdle acknowledged that, considering the amount of time missed, there are arguments for and against Helton returning before the end of this season.
Hurdle said he wouldn't comment on those pros and cons until "the appropriate time for me to respond," but he sounded as if he'd like to see a healthy Helton help the club with its against-the-odds push and gain confidence for 2009.
"I like the fact he's working his way back," Hurdle said. "I like the fact that he's feeling better. He does, also. I think anybody would hope that a guy would get out of the discomfort that he's been in and put himself in position to participate.
"Nobody wants the season to move on without him, and he feels that he still might have some value to add."
The Rockies called up right-handed reliever Steven Register from Triple-A Colorado Springs and activated outfielder Ryan Spilborghs (strained left oblique) from the 15-day disabled list Monday, but did not make any other moves even though they could expand their roster from 25 to a limit of 40. Hurdle said he would make other moves after Monday, which is the final day of the Triple-A and Double-A seasons.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.