SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Todd Helton had a rude awakening when he rolled into the Rockies' clubhouse Thursday morning and saw his name atop the lineup card, batting leadoff against Reds fireballing left-hander Aroldis Chapman.
Helton wasn't supposed to play in games until this weekend or thereabouts as he works back from hip surgery without overdoing it in the extended Cactus League season.
"I told him I was going to roll him out there to face 102 [mph] on February 28th for his first at-bat," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
"I was ready to go," countered Helton.
The decoy lineup came down and the real one was posted with Eric Young Jr. hitting leadoff and Helton remaining on pace for the weekend.
The Rockies went down in order during Chapman's two innings, with nobody getting a ball past the infield dirt.
"He kind of reminded me of Randy Johnson with that slider that disappears," Weiss said. "It's a tough at-bat. I thought our guys battled pretty well against some tough counts."