Todd Helton didn’t see improvement with his sore right hip during the All-Star break, so the Rockies placed him on the disabled list prior to last night’s game.
Helton was already playing sparingly in recent weeks, as the injury has contributed to his struggles at the plate. The Denver Post reports that he’s being sent for an MRI on the hip, after which there should be more clarity on a timetable for his return.
Helton, a .320 lifetime hitter, is batting just .235/.332/.398 with seven home runs, 34 RBI and a .730 OPS in 63 games played this season. As part of a renegotiated extension which was signed in March of 2010, the 38-year-old is making $4.9 million this season and $5 million in 2013.
Losing Helton might not be the worst thing for the Rockies’ offense at this point, as they now have the ability to play Michael Cuddyer at first base and the hot-hitting Tyler Colvin in the outfield.
With a 6-1 win over the Twins in Sunday’s season finale, the Royals clinched the best record in the American League, which nets them home field advantage in the ALDS and ALCS. The Royals stand at 95-67 while the Blue Jays, who lost on Sunday, finish at 93-69.
95-67 is the Royals’ best record since finishing 97-65 in 1980, when they lost the World Series to the Phillies. Their division title is their first since 1985.
In the ALDS, which starts on Thursday, the Royals will host the winner of the AL Wild Card game between the Astros and Yankees. They are looking to avenge last year’s World Series loss, in seven games, to the Giants. The Blue Jays will host the Rangers in the other ALDS series.
Both the Astros’ and the Yankees’ fates were decided before their own games had completed on Sunday. The Rangers defeated the Angels, which clinched a Wild Card spot for the Astros. Then the Astros dropped Sunday’s season finale to the Diamondbacks, which clinched the first AL Wild Card slot for the Yankees. The Yankees are on their way to a loss against the Orioles as of this writing, but that will not affect anything now.
The Astros were in a 3-3 tie with the Diamondbacks in the seventh inning, but reliever Chad Qualls served up a two-run home run to Paul Goldschmidt. That would prove to be the deciding factor in a 5-3 loss.
The Yankees are losing 7-4 to the Orioles behind a subpar start by Michael Pineda and a shaky performance by the bullpen.
The MLB postseason opens up with the Yankees hosting the Astros on Tuesday in the AL Wild Card game. The winner moves on to face the Royals in Kansas City in the ALDS.