About Helton... 

About Helton...

TUCSON, Colo. -- Todd Helton reported with the rest of his teammates on Wednesday as the cagey veteran with a bunch of Rockies youngsters following his every move.

All eyes are on the Colorado stalwart, who is not only the team's consummate hitter, but a mentor for an inexperienced team still trying to find itself.

"Time will tell but we definitely have the talent, but that doesn't mean nothing," Helton said. "We have to go out and win ball games. There are a lot of good players. The more experience everybody gets the better we are going to be."

After six days of just having pitchers and catchers in spring training, everybody else showed up Wednesday.

The Rockies will be without two pitchers on Thursday when Byung-Hyun Kim and Sunny Kim leave to start workouts with their Korean team as part of the World Baseball Classic.

Informal workouts in the batting cages greeted the positional players, who carried more of an accomplished attitude than at the start of last year's training camp.

"They do walk around a little lighter," Colorado manager Clint Hurdle said. "They have experience under their belt and a degree of confidence. But they have to build on the success. You can talk about a lot of things, but the bottom line is we won 67 games, and that is not very many."

The key appears to be for players to follow Helton's lead, and make sure Colorado doesn't bury itself again with another 15-36 start like it did last season.

Helton will be one of the few true veterans in the every day lineup to work with second-year players such as outfielders Cory Sullivan and Brad Hawpe, shortstop Clint Barmes, third baseman Garrett Atkins, and third year players like outfielder Matt Holliday and second baseman Luis Gonzalez.

"(Helton) has set the bar very high," Hurdle said. "If he goes out and does what he is capable of doing it will be an outstanding season both offensively and defensively."

Helton, who is the active career batting average leader in the major leagues with a .337 clip and with eight straight seasons of 20-plus homers, entered his 11th spring training as the cornerstone for what the Rockies do during the 2006 season.

"He is the leader on the team and a consummate professional," Sullivan said. "All the young guys watch him. He is a great guy to mirror."

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Comment when you say it like that it makes a lot of sense

Wed Apr 5, 2006 1:53 pm MST by bob stevens

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