When Todd Helton took his first at-bat Friday night, the giant scoreboard beyond left field mocked him by flashing his .236 batting average.

Helton's average has never been as low at this point in the season. The previous low was in 1999, his second full season in the majors, when he was hitting .262. The 38-year-old first baseman said the average will improve.

"My bat feels good in the cage, but then I get in the box and that big .230 stares at you," Helton said before Friday's game. "I could give you all kinds of excuses, but I just have to go out and improve and get better. I basically need to have a more consistent approach."

Helton, who said his problematic lower-back is not the cause of his slump, hit .254 with four homers in April. He's hitting .205 with no homers in May.