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."
Rockies quiet as Trade Deadline approaches
ATLANTA -- Things could change, but all was quiet around the Rockies on Tuesday, the eve of Wednesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline at 2 p.m. MT.
The Denver Post reported that the Red Sox and Indians are interested in lefty reliever Josh Outman as a late-game specialist, and could be the player most likely to be moved.
The team's biggest chip is lefty starter Jorge De La Rosa, but the Rockies haven't made him available. Part of the reason is the Rockies hope that within the next month they can catch fire and become a factor in the National League West race.
If not, De La Rosa, who has a club option for 2014 valued at $11 million, could be moved after clearing waivers. Players traded before Aug. 31 are eligible for the postseason with their new club. However, there is plenty of sentiment inside the Rockies to bring back De La Rosa next season as one of the starting rotation's cornerstones.
The Rockies also could add bullpen help, but not much is happening so far in that regard.
Oswalt getting closer to making rehab start
ATLANTA -- Right-hander Roy Oswalt said the beginning was a little rough, but his bullpen session on Tuesday at Turner Field -- 36 pitches, using all his pitches -- went well enough that he's good to go for a simultated game Friday in Pittsburgh and a Minor League rehab start.
Oswalt doesn't want to make more than one start in the Minors before returning, but that depends on how he feels.
The Rockies hope Oswalt, 35, regains his form this year. Even if the team doesn't push into the playoff race, the Rockies want to keep him and evaluate whether to re-sign him for next season.
The last two seasons -- last year with the Rangers and this year with the Rockies -- Oswalt didn't attend Spring Training and signed after the season started because he didn't receive offseason offers. A former All-Star and Cy Young Award candidate, Oswalt believes he has a future as a starter.
The first step is contributing positively to the Rockies this season. In four starts before the injury, a rusty Oswalt went 0-4 with a 7.64 ERA.
"I want to help this team," he said. "I wasn't doing too well at first, then I got hurt. But I still believe I can pitch well for this team."
Bettis likely choice to start Thursday vs. Braves
ATLANTA -- Signs point to the Rockies calling up right-handed prospect Chad Bettis from Double-A Tulsa to start Thursday against the Braves. Although manager Walt Weiss declined to make an announcement, he did say he was interested in how Bettis, 24, can contribute at the big league level.
Bettis, a hard-thrower, is 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA in 12 starts in a season shortened by an oblique injury. He has 68 strikeouts against 13 walks. Bettis is not as dominant as right-hander Juan Nicasio was when the Rockies plucked him from Double-A in 2011, but the numbers argue for a similar treatment.
Before Bettis suffered a shoulder injury last season, there was sentiment in the organization to convert him to a reliever, with an eye toward him becoming a closer. But with the difficulty in finding power starters, it could be difficult to convert Bettis now, especially with lefty Rex Brothers showing he has the power and mettle to succeed Rafael Betancourt should the Rockies go in that direction.
"He's been a starter down there," Weiss said of Bettis. "We haven't talked about what his role would be. There are a couple of different schools of thought. He's been a starter, so his arm is built up to do that. Some people project him as a bullpen guy down the road. We'll figure all that stuff out."
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.