Helton gets rare start against left-hander

Helton gets rare start against left-hander

Helton gets rare start against left-hander

ATLANTA -- It used to be no big deal for Rockies first baseman Todd Helton to start a number of consecutive games, but at age 39, the breaks have been frequent this season. Lately, however, manager Walt Weiss has brought back the old days.

Against the Braves on Tuesday, Helton started for the fifth straight game. In the previous four he hit .250 with a triple and two RBIs. For the season, he is hitting .259 with seven home runs and 34 RBIs. The start on Tuesday was a mild surprise: Weiss had generally avoided using Helton against left-handers, and the Braves were starting Alex Wood, who throws a knuckle-curve.

But Weiss said he likes the way Helton has swung the bat lately. Also, right-handed hitting Jordan Pacheco, who shared the position with Helton much of the season, has been sent to the Minors to work on catching. The Rockies can move right fielder Michael Cuddyer to first if they want, but Weiss elected to go with Helton again.

"He's feeling real good," Weiss said. "If that's the case, we're going to run him out there. He's swinging the bat real well, playing well."

In the fourth inning on Monday, Helton went into right-field foul ground to make an over-the-head catch on Evan Gattis' foul pop.

"I told him, 'That might be one of the best plays I've ever seen you make,'" Weiss said. "It was a tough time of the night, the ball wasn't easy to see and he ran a long way. I thought he had no chance on that ball."

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.