9/7/2013 9:14 P.M. ET
The secret to Helton's surge? No more workouts
By Thomas Harding / MLB.com
SAN DIEGO -- First baseman Todd Helton has found a way to stay young, or at least fresh, as he competes at the age of 40. Call it all play and no workouts.
Helton is finishing strong in what is expected to be his final season. His home run in the top of the ninth inning of Saturday night's 4-3 loss to the Padres was his fifth in his last eight games. He smiled when asked why he has so much energy.
"'Cause I quit working out," said Helton, who has yet to make a retirement announcement. "I haven't worked out since the All-Star Game. I just let it go."
After years of back issues and coming off a 2012 that was shortened by season-ending surgery to repair a torn labrum in his right hip, Helton is healthy. He's also taking an unburdened mental approach.
"I'm just swinging hard, hoping for a sound, and every once in a while, I'm hearing it," he said.
The homer was his 10th at Petco Park, which ties him with Pablo Sandoval, Justin Upton and Adam LaRoche for the most there by a visiting player. Helton has a .344 batting average and .453 on-base percentage at Petco, which opened in 2004.
The long ball was also the 31st ninth-inning homer of his career. Among active players, only Alex Rodriguez (40) and Jason Giambi (33) have more.
Manager Walt Weiss, who was a veteran shortstop with the Rockies when Helton debuted in 1997, is marveling at Helton's strong finish.
"He's putting some good swings on the ball, hitting it in the gaps and over the fence," Weiss said. "It's been fun to watch.
"We've tried to be smart about how we run him out there, but we've actually run him out there pretty regularly this year. He hasn't had the back issues and some of the nagging injuries he's had the last few years. As long as he's healthy, I always felt he'd be a productive player this year."
Weiss uses walk-off to discuss plan for replay
SAN DIEGO -- Manager Walt Weiss admitted that he didn't spend much time reviewing the game-ending hit by the Padres' Jesus Guzman on Friday night.
The ball appeared to be foul, but third-base umpire C.B. Bucknor ruled it fair, and the Rockies lost, 4-3. If the proposed plan for instant replay passes, if a similar play occurs next season, Weiss will have the ability to institute a challenge that would be determined by instant replay umpires in New York.
"I saw one [replay], but it wasn't a great angle," Weiss said on Saturday. "Right after the game, I went in and watched it. To be honest, it was tough to tell from the angle I saw. I don't know if there was a better angle available. I didn't care to look at it after that. After the game I wanted to go in and see what it looked like, but I didn't really research it after the fact."
Weiss has no problem using replay in such cases.
"I like the concept of getting it right," he said. "I think everybody does. Even the umpires have stated that. They want to get it right as much as anybody. I don't think it's going to disrupt the flow of the game.
"It's obviously early in the process. We haven't started doing it yet. Things will pop up that will be a little unforeseen once it gets implemented. The bottom line is, we have an opportunity to get it right. The umpires are only human. They're not going to get it right all the time. They probably still won't get it right all the time. Some of the replays will be inconclusive. But having the concept works."
Fowler sits on Saturday after aggravating knee
SAN DIEGO -- Center fielder Dexter Fowler was out of the lineup on Saturday after aggravating his previously injured left knee during Friday night's 4-3 loss to the Padres.
Fowler missed six games recently after twisting his knee; Friday was his third game back. He also attempted to play with injuries to his finger and wrist for two weeks before going on the disabled list before midseason.
The result is a Rockies club that has been left to wonder what might have been had Fowler, its leadoff hitter, not been injured.
In some production categories, Fowler has met or exceeded last year's totals despite playing 113 games, as opposed to 143. He has the same number of doubles (18), seven more steals (19 to 12) and one more home run (13 to 12). He also has walked 68 times, compared with 65 last year.
"He's a guy that impacts the game from both sides of the ball," manager Walt Weiss said. "He's a great center fielder. He's a leadoff guy that provides power. That's still a pretty unique tool set in the game. He's a pretty exciting player."
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.