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Helton gets in first full spring workout with teammates

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Saturday's official report date for Rockies position players came and went -- nearly without fanfare, simply because it's rarely if ever an issue. Some players experienced visa problems a few years back, but the club has had a culture of early reporting.

However, Saturday was the first extended appearance in the clubhouse of veteran first baseman Todd Helton. Actually, Helton has been in town for about a week, but he had made himself scarce around the complex. His lack of presence prevented his recent arrest and charges of driving under the influence and careless driving from distracting his teammates.

But Helton, who underwent left hip surgery to repair a torn labrum in August and has set a goal of being fully ready on Opening Day, exercised and took batting practice with his teammates on Saturday.

The club has said Helton, 39, who has played 16 seasons with the Rockies and is in the final year of his contract, will address the issue with the media one time, on Sunday, the day of the first full-squad workout. New manager Walt Weiss expects that the issue will not be a clubhouse distraction.

"It's good to see him out there, and he's been everything you would expect," Weiss said. "He's taking it head-on. He's dealing with it. We'll turn the page and get ready for the season."

Helton was arrested in Thornton, Colo., early on Feb. 6, and has a May 20 court date.

Infielder Reid Brignac, acquired in a trade with the Rays on Thursday, arrived Saturday. Most of the players had been working at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick all week, while the pitchers and catchers were in official Spring Training mode.