The crutches are gone, and so is the constant pain in his right hip. That has made Rockies veteran first baseman Todd Helton increasingly hopeful of playing in 2013.

"I think, physically, I will be able to come back," Helton said Tuesday. "So I plan on coming back, but there are a couple of things still on my mind. I want to know I have a good chance to make it through next year — healthy. That will factor into it."

Also factoring into his decision is his view of the franchise's direction. The Rockies are on track for the worst record in team history. Losing 100 games for the first time is possible.