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Helton discusses retirement after 17-year career

The Red Sox may have already clinched the American League East crown, but that will hardly matter Wednesday when they face the Rockies in Todd Helton's final game at Coors Field.

The first baseman, who has spent all 17 of his Major League seasons with Colorado, will retire following this weekend's series in Los Angeles and will be honored with bobbleheads given to the first 35,000 fans at Wednesday's game.

Helton ranks among the top 100 players all-time in hits, doubles, home runs, RBIs, walks, extra-base hits, total bases, batting average, on-base percentage and slugging percentage.

"What will I miss the most?" Helton said during his retirement news conference last week. "I'll miss the competition. I'll miss the anticipation of walking out of the tunnel and seeing the fans, and getting ready to play the game. That's going to be the toughest part to me.

"You hear all the time, 'Why didn't you smile more out there on the field? Why didn't you show more emotion?' Because I was out there trying my hardest. To me, when you're out there trying your hardest, it's hard to smile all the time. But let me tell you, I was enjoying myself. I was enjoying every minute that I spent out there."

Helton then choked up briefly.

"I'm going to miss walking out of the tunnel at night, walking past Charlotte [Johnson, who is in charge of the gate through which the players leave], saying goodnight, trying to figure out how I'm going to get a hit the next day or how we're going to win a game the next day," he said. "To me, that's going to be the hardest.

"The fans of Colorado, I'd like to thank them. I'd like to think that I've been the model of consistency, but ya'll have been the model of consistency for me. I don't know how those girls stand out there and hold that sign every time I come up."

In addition to honoring Helton, the Rockies will look to carry over the momentum they gained from hammering John Lackey on Tuesday when they face Jake Peavy in the series finale.

Jhoulys Chacin, one of Colorado's most consistent starters this season and a late replacement for Roy Oswalt, will look to close out the home schedule in style. In Chacin's only other start against the Red Sox, he threw 6 2/3 shutout innings on June 22, 2010.

Although his club is not playing for the postseason, Rockies manager Walt Weiss enjoys facing the Red Sox and then the Dodgers later this week.

"I like the way the homestand was set up with some of the better clubs this year coming through at the end," Weiss said. "I feel like our guys have really battled. We've lost some tough games here, but even the games we've lost, the guys have battled and competed. We're a little short, but guys are stepping up, some young guys are stepping up, getting the opportunities, taking advantage of them. But I like the way our club is fighting."

Wednesday's start comes at an opportune time for Peavy, who is looking to find some consistency after he recently changed his arm slot.

The Red Sox still have something to play for as they continue to battle for the right to home-field advantage in the playoffs.

Manager John Farrell likes the way his team's schedule has set up as they continue to play for the all-important right to play the majority of their postseason games at Fenway Park.

"We knew we were going to be challenged not only by coming out here to Colorado, but the teams that we were playing, where we were in relation to everybody else in the division and it's maybe kept us accountable to our daily work and preparation because of the opponents we were playing," said Farrell.

Rockies: Rosario may return
Catcher Wilin Rosario, who has been sidelined since Sept. 17 with a strained right calf, caught a bullpen session before Tuesday's game.

Weiss is hopeful Rosario can return for the final series of the season, a three-game set this weekend at Dodger Stadium.

Rosario brings an element of power hitting that has been missing from replacements Yorvit Torrealba and Jordan Pacheco. Rosario ranks third on the team with 21 home runs while Torrealba and Pacheco have combined to hit 21.

Red Sox: Ellsbury back in action
Sidelined since Sept. 5 with a compression fracture in his right foot, Jacoby Ellsbury will likely play part of Wednesday's series finale, probably taking three at-bats before coming out.

Boston was already preparing for Ellsbury's return Tuesday as Farrell moved second baseman Dustin Pedroia out of the leadoff spot. Pedroia led off in 11 of the 15 games Ellsbury missed.

Worth noting
• Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon is riding a career-high nine-game hitting streak.

• Since Aug. 9, the Red Sox have stolen 37 bases without a runner being thrown out. Comments