Todd Helton?'s sense of humor returned Thursday, the pregame featuring his crooked smile and dry wit. There will, however, be no more hits this season. Bothered by a stiff back over the past two weeks, Helton is shut down for the season.

"He's likely done," manager Jim Tracy said.

Tracy said it would be "ridiculous" to put Helton back in the lineup, thus risking a serious back injury. The 38-year- old underwent an MRI recently, which revealed no structural damage. He had a cortisone shot this month in hopes of returning but saw no significant improvement.

Still, Helton doesn't think the back problem will linger into next season.