Rockies activate Helton off 60-day DL
First baseman missed 62 games with strained lower back
DENVER -- When Rockies first baseman Todd Helton went on the disabled list with a strained lower back in early July, questions abounded whether he would play again this season.
On Friday, that question was finally answered.
After missing 62 games, Helton was reinstated from the 60-day disabled list before Friday night's game against the Dodgers.
Helton has had numerous setbacks since he went on the disabled list on July 3. But the 34-year-old showed steady improvement over the past couple weeks, convincing the coaching staff that he was ready to play. Along with participating in batting practice the past two days, Helton had also been taking grounders during pregame workouts.
Though the announcement didn't come until an hour before game time, Rockies manager Clint Hurdle hinted that Helton would play again this season during his pregame news conference. "I think he's feeling OK," Hurdle said. "I talked with [team trainer] Keith [Dugger], and he said [Helton] isn't feeling any discomfort."
Hurdle said there was a good chance Helton would play again this season as long as the team felt confident that he was completely healthy.
"I think whatever we can do to help him feel better needs to be taken into consideration," Hurdle said. "We're aware of the many gifts he brings, and if we can get him back to a place where it works for him and it works for the club, then yes, this year would be appropriate."
Helton struggled from the plate before going on the DL. In 81 games, he hit .266 with seven home runs and 26 RBIs. Hurdle said that getting Helton back on the field would help him build confidence before the offseason.
"Just from a mental standpoint, him being in the dugout knowing that he might be used some how, some way some time, I think that would be helpful," Hurdle said.
Jeff Birnbaum is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.