PITTSBURGH -- Rockies first baseman Todd Helton had two days of rest and his last two hits were home runs, so it was a good time for him to arrive in Pittsburgh.Helton entered Tuesday night's start against the Pirates with a .292 batting average with five home runs in 30 at-bats at PNC Park. This is after he hit .344 with four homers at old Three Rivers Stadium. Helton said PNC is a great park for a hitter when the sun goes down. "Your first at-bat is tough just because of the shadows," Helton said. "Other than that, it's a great place to hit. "I don't think the city has anything to do with it. I really enjoyed hitting at the old park -- the turf, and you could hit the ball out to all fields. This park is a little harder to hit to left and left-center, but the ball still flies out to right-center." Helton homered twice against the Brewers, as the Rockies won 2-of-3 games. Manager Jim Tracy rested him on Sunday, and Monday's rainout in Pittsburgh gave him another day's rest. "Hopefully, the bat will feel better in my hand," Helton said. Helton entered Tuesday hitting .239 with a team-high three home runs, and 10 RBIs. Tracy said, "Todd's in a really good place right now, make no mistake about it. Not only is he playing well but he looks as good physically as he has over the course of the last couple years and last year was pretty good [.302, 14 HR, 69 RBI in 124 games] when you start analyzing what he was able to do."
Tulowitzki confident in team going forward
PITTSBURGH -- The Rockies entered Tuesday having won three straight series and hoping to ride the momentum. No one is better at riding momentum than Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.Tulowitzki started the year cold, hitting .244 and going through uncharacteristic fielding struggles through his first 11 games. But Tulowitzki went 6-for-13 with a home run, a double and three RBIs as the Rockies won 2-of-3 at Milwaukee. Being surrounded by a veteran team -- built in the offseason when the Rockies added second baseman Marco Scutaro, outfielder Michael Cuddyer and catcher Ramon Hernandez -- helped Tulowitzki, who entered Tuesday night hitting .296. "I said it in Spring Training, we're not in awe of anything," Tulowitzki said. "We've been to all the parks. We've been through good times and slumps. We're not intimidated by going on the road. Nothing fazes these guys. We have a lot of solid, veteran Major Leaguers." The Pirates' pitching staff entered the series with the second-lowest ERA in the Majors at 2.63, but it's difficult to handle Tulowitzki when he is swinging the bat well. "They do have a good pitching staff, but it's a matter of keeping the momentum going," Tulowitzki said.
De La Rosa to face A's in extended spring
PITTSBURGH -- Rockies left-handed pitcher Jorge De La Rosa, completing his recovery from Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, will make his first extended spring appearance on Friday against the Athletics.De La Rosa, 31, was 5-2 with a 3.51 ERA and was the Rockies' best starter last year before suffering the elbow injury in his 10th start. De La Rosa will throw 65-70 pitches in his outing, and if all goes well, the Rockies will consider sending him out on a Minor League rehab assignment. Left-handed reliever Josh Outman, who suffered a right oblique strain before the start of the season, threw 22 pitches on Tuesday in his first extended spring game, against the Athletics, and gave up just one hit, to Manny Ramirez. His fastball ran 92-94 mph. He'll have a throwing session Thursday, and could begin a rehab assignment during the weekend.
Putnam gets call to be 26th man for twin bill
PITTSBURGH -- The Rockies called up right-handed relief pitcher Zach Putnam from Triple-A Colorado Springs on Wednesday for the club's doubleheader with the Pirates.Under the current collective bargaining agreement, teams are allowed to call up a 26th player for a doubleheader as long as that player is on the 40-man Major League roster. The Rockies will be back to 25 players for Friday's opener of a three-game set with the Mets; they do not have to send Putnam down. Putnam, 24, acquired from the Indians over the offseason for right-handed pitcher Kevin Slowey, is 1-0 with three saves and a 1.23 ERA at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Putnam has 11 strikeouts to three walks in 7 1/3 innings over five appearances. Putnam made his Major League debut last season with the Indians, going 1-1 with a 6.14 ERA in eight appearances, with nine strikeouts against no walks. The doubleheader is necessary because Rockies and Pirates were rained out on Monday.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.