DENVER -- Catcher Danny Ardoin has done all of the running and hitting and squatting behind the plate required to show that he has recovered from a sprained right knee sufficiently enough to return to the Rockies. But he hasn't really been tested at the plate.

In a total of 13 games of injury rehab at Class A Modesto and Triple-A Colorado Springs, Ardoin never engaged in a collision at the plate.

That was how he was injured on May 24, when the Dodgers' Jose Cruz Jr. flew into his knee on a play at the plate. However, Ardoin said he doesn't think a home-plate confrontation was necessary in his rehab.

"I had a couple of rundowns, changed directions and it held up fine," Ardoin said. "On those home-plate collisions, anything can happen. You can get hurt with a healthy knee, like what happened to me."

Ardoin batted .191 for the Rockies before the injury. He'll now back up Yorvit Torrealba, who entered Monday night's start against the Brewers with 29 RBIs in 36 games since recovering from a shoulder injury.

JD Closser had filled in for Ardoin. Although Closser has overcome some of the defensive issues that plagued him last season, manager Clint Hurdle said Ardoin's defense is an upgrade.

"We know what Danny gives us defensively -- he's a no-brainer defensively," Hurdle said. "Offense is going to be a wash.

"Danny will have the opportunity to play some games here. He can make a difference behind the plate. Teams know when they run, they run at risk."

Ardoin said he will not wear a brace on the knee.

Gonzalez starts: Hurdle went with right-handed-hitting Luis Gonzalez in right field, instead of left-handed-hitting regular Brad Hawpe, against Brewers left-hander Chris Capuano.

Hurdle went with the numbers in making the decision. Gonzalez, the Rockies' former starting second baseman, hit .455 (5-for-11) in three games against the Brewers last season.

Hurdle also said that if the Rockies hadn't traded right-handed-hitting first-base prospect Ryan Shealy to the Royals -- for left-hander Jeremy Affeldt, who was expected to be available on Monday night -- first baseman Todd Helton would have had the night off. Helton entered 1-for-12 against Capuano.

No longer a Todd-ocracy: After Sunday's 3-1 victory over the Padres, Helton fielded several questions about his hitting. It was just his third three-hit game of a subpar season. But the questions from the media dealt more with the Rockies being 4 1/2 games behind the Padres in the National League West.

Helton would rather not have taken a .288 average into Monday. But the fact the discussion isn't all about him makes him happy.

"I dislike talking about myself," he said. "I enjoy talking about the team playing well. There's only so many questions ya'll can ask before it gets old. But now we're in a new territory and a new realm. That's a lot of fun."

Up next: Right-hander Josh Fogg (7-5, 4.56 ERA) will lead the Rockies against the Brewers and righty Dave Bush (6-8, 4.95 ERA) on Tuesday night at 7:05 MT.