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Healthy Helton getting regular playing time

NEW YORK -- While Walt Weiss is still going to make sure to give Todd Helton occasional rest, the Rockies' manager said he's prepared to have his first baseman in the lineup consistently.

"I think he's swinging the bat pretty well, and he's feeling good," Weiss said. "If he's feeling good, I'm going to go ahead and run him out there. Within reason, I'm still going to take care of him [with] certain day games and that type of thing."

Helton is hitting .258 with seven home runs and 36 RBIs in 83 games this season. He also has a .327 on-base percentage. He missed time earlier in the season when he went on the disabled list with a left forearm strain.

Helton, 39, has also dealt with a balky back for a long time, and tweaked it when he pinch-hit in Saturday night's loss to Pittsburgh. He had been in the starting lineup for eight straight days leading up to that game.

Weiss said the fact that this could be Helton's final season doesn't factor into the decision of whether he's going to play or not.

"If he wasn't real healthy, he wouldn't be out there regardless," Weiss said. "But the fact that he's feeling good is why I'm running him out there."

Carlos Gonzalez's trip to the 15-day disabled list makes having Helton's bat in the lineup regularly even more important. Without any setbacks, that's going to be the case.

"As long as he's feeling well," Weiss said, "he's going to get a lot of time."

Chris Iseman is an associate reporter for
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