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Helton feeling need to play despite forearm strain

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DENVER -- Rockies first baseman Todd Helton said Tuesday morning he hoped to play the nightcap of a day-night doubleheader against the Braves, after suffering a left forearm strain Friday. But with temperatures in the 20s and no way to tell if they would rise or how much, manager Walt Weiss said Helton would "have a hard time talking his way into the lineup."

Weiss stood by his statement, not penciling Helton into the starting lineup for the second game of Tuesday's doubleheader. The Rockies dropped the first game, 4-3.

Helton has had a cortisone shot in the forearm and reported Tuesday he felt better, but it was still stiff and swollen. However, Helton, who overcame a 2-for-21 start and has brought his average up to .268, is conscious that having him unavailable leaves the team short a player.

"I gotta start doing something pretty quick or they're going to think about the DL," he said.

Weiss said he had not spoken to Helton on Tuesday morning.

"I haven't got the update, but we'll go game to game with him," Weiss said.

Jordan Pacheco started Tuesday's first game, and if Helton's absence is extended, it will mean more playing time for him. Last year, Pacheco started for large chunks at third base, when Chris Nelson was injured, and first, when Helton was out, and ended up leading National League rookies with a .309 batting average. A calm demeanor and a low-maintenance swing are his keys.

"You don't want to make it too big of a deal," said Pacheco, hitting .310 in 29 at-bats as a part-time player this season. "It's keeping fresh in the cage, doing extra work, doing early work, keeping your mind fresh."

Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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