Barmes blames fall on deer meat, not groceries or ATV

Updated: June 9, 2005, 7:39 PM ET
Associated Press

DENVER -- Colorado Rockies rookie shortstop Clint Barmes says he was lugging a package of deer meat he got from teammate Todd Helton, and not a bag of groceries, when he fell and broke his collarbone.

"I just didn't think it was right to bring Todd Helton into something like this," Barmes was quoted as saying in The Denver Post on Thursday, explaining why he gave a different version of the story when he first recounted the strange fall that will sideline him for at least three months.

Barmes, who was leading National League rookies in most offensive categories, underwent successful surgery to repair the break in his left collarbone. Team doctors inserted a titanium plate and nine screws to help the bone heal.

Helton said he and Barmes had ridden four-wheel all-terrain vehicles at Helton's ranch near Greeley on Sunday after the Rockies beat the Cincinnati Reds 8-6. Helton said the ATV ride had nothing to do with the injury.

"I cannot say it strongly enough -- he did not get hurt riding an ATV," Helton said. "I was there. He never left my eyesight the entire time."

Helton said he, Barmes and rookie teammate Brad Hawpe were riding about 5 mph.

Afterward, he treated them to a dinner that included deer meat, and Barmes liked it so much that Helton gave him a package.

Nothing in Barmes' contract, which is just $1,000 above the major league minimum, specifically prohibits him from riding an ATV.

Rockies general manager Dan O'Dowd said he doesn't doubt Barmes' explanation that it was a fall, and not the ATV ride, that caused the injury.

"This is one of the greatest-character kids we've ever had come through this organization," O'Dowd said. "I have no reason to doubt him. It's an unfortunate injury for both him and for us, but he'll get through this."

Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press