Sore back subsides as Rockies activate Helton from 60-day DL

9/13/2008 - MLB Todd Helton Colorado Rockies + more

DENVER -- The Colorado Rockies activated first baseman Todd Helton from the 60-day disabled list on Friday.

Helton did not start for the first game of a three-game series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but he came in as a pinch-hitter in the sixth inning of the Dodgers' 7-2 win and struck out swinging.

"It felt good to be out there," Helton said. "It stinks when you come up in a situation and you can't help your team right there. But it felt good to get back out there. I can't wait to bat again."

Helton was placed on the 15-day DL on July 3 because of a strained lower back. He was transferred to the 60-day DL on Aug. 10. It was his third trip to the DL in his 11-year career and first time since 2006. In the first 10 years of his career Helton played an average of 154 games and never missed more than 18 games. He has missed 66 games in 2008 entering Friday.

The Rockies were 33-29 with Helton on the DL.

"It was tough on me. I wanted to be out there helping my team," Helton said. "They pay me a lot of money to do a good job for them. I'm looking forward to getting back to where I should be."

The team designated right-handed pitcher Pedro Strop for assignment to make room for Helton on the 40-man roster.

Before going on the DL, Helton said his chronically sore back had been bothering him for a while, and after taking a big cut and miss against San Diego on July 2, his back locked up.

Helton's back has improved of late, and he took batting practice Wednesday and Thursday in Atlanta, and again Friday before the game with the Dodgers.

The 35-year-old, who brought a .332 batting average into the season, is hitting just .266 with seven homers and 29 RBIs in 82 games. In his last 22 games leading up to July 3, he was hitting .182 (14-for-77).