Weiss: Helton to miss 'first handful' of spring games

Lachemann hopes third time the charm at Classic

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Rockies Manager Walt Weiss said Wednesday that veteran first baseman Todd Helton will not play in Saturday's Spring Training opener against the D-backs, and he will check with shortstop Troy Tulowitzki before committing to using him.

Both players are coming off season-ending surgeries -- Helton's in August on his right hip to repair a torn labrum and Tulowitzk's in June on his left groin to remove scar tissue. Weiss said Helton prefers to ease his way into playing shape and might not be used in early games. Tulowitzki has done baserunning drills with no problems. Weiss said he believes Tulowitzki will play, but he wants to make sure playing doesn't create a setback.

Weiss said veterans such as Helton and Tulowitzki, as well as closer Rafael Betancourt, who is facing hitters but asked not to be put on the pitching schedule the first week of games, have earned the right to approach Spring Training with an eye toward preserving themselves for the regular season.

"This Spring Training is five or six days longer than it usually is [because of the World Baseball Classic]," Weiss said. "Todd wants to time it right, so that when it's time to go -- he's at his peak. He's probably not going to be in there for that first handful of games. I don't know the exact number. For a guy like him, there's no reason to put your foot on the pedal. He's got a good feel.

"I'm trying to do that with all our guys. What gets you right? I don't care what that looks like, that's what we're going to do."