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Sunday, April 23, 2006
Rockies optimistic about ailing Helton's prognosis

Associated Press

DENVER -- The music was a little louder, the mood a little lighter in Colorado's clubhouse, and the Rockies' 3-2 win over San Francisco in 10 innings Sunday wasn't the only thing they were celebrating.

Todd Helton
Helton

Slugger Todd Helton seems to be improving, although the stomach ailment that landed him in the hospital and on the disabled list Friday remained a mystery 48 hours later.

"More a positive vibe because he is feeling better," team trainer Keith Dugger said.

Helton is expected to be released from Rose Medical Center on Monday after another battery of tests. Dugger said doctors "haven't officially eliminated anything" but reiterated that Helton's condition isn't considered life-threatening.

"I think there is improvement," manager Clint Hurdle said. "More optimism maybe today than there was yesterday."

Reliever Mike DeJean, one of Helton's closest friends, said the mood picked up Sunday when team doctor Allen Schreiber arrived at Coors Field exuding optimism over Helton's improving health.

"Hopefully he's out of the woods," DeJean said.

Nobody in the organization could remember Helton ever complaining about his health until he confided in DeJean on Wednesday that he wasn't feeling well.

DeJean said he was unnerved Thursday when he went to Helton's ranch in Greeley, Colo., on a day off to "chase turkeys around and Todd didn't show up and didn't return my phone calls." He was hospitalized the next day with severe lower abdominal pain and a fever.

Helton is hitting .347 with a .529 on-base percentage with nine doubles, one homer and nine RBI. He went on the DL last year for the first time in his career with a strained calf.

"This is a guy who never complains about anything," DeJean said. "If he is feeling sick, he doesn't want to say it."

DeJean said Helton is the type of guy who wouldn't want anybody going to see him in the hospital or even calling him, so he and his wife had been exchanging text messages with Helton's wife, Christy.

"She tells me things are progressing," DeJean said.