SAN FRANCISCO -- Todd Helton's Colorado Rockies home jersey hangs in Matt Cain's dressing stall in the Giants clubhouse. It's more than just a collector's item, more than just a memento.
It's a symbol of the enduring respect Cain has for Helton, the Rockies first baseman who's likely making his final AT&T Park appearance as an active player during this series. Helton, who didn't start Monday's series opener, entered the game with a .317 batting average and 2,503 hits in 17 years. He has announced that this season probably will be his last.
"I enjoy playing against him," Cain said. "It's been fun. It's been a challenge, but I think that's the enjoyable part -- facing somebody like Todd who's a Hall of Fame[-caliber] guy."
Indeed, Cain and Helton are inextricably linked. On Aug. 29, 2005, the 20-year-old Cain made his Major League debut against the Rockies. Cain pitched respectably in a 2-1 loss, allowing three hits and both Rockies runs in five innings. But what really distinguished his performance was his 14-pitch confrontation in the fifth inning against Helton, the last batter he faced. Helton fouled off numerous pitches before Cain won the battle, inducing a fly to deep left-center field.
"I remember that like it was yesterday," Cain said. "I don't remember every pitch, but I remember throwing everything I had at him and he was putting good wood on everything. I think the worst pitch I made probably was the last one. I think it was down the middle. A fastball. Luckily he just missed it."
Helton has accumulated 71 plate appearances against Cain, more than any other active pitcher the left-handed batter has faced. The results: a .200 batting average (12-for-60), with three homers, six RBIs and six strikeouts.
To Cain, Helton's professionalism transcends statistics.
"I think that's what you always appreciate about guys," Cain said. "He was one of the guys I looked up to. Playing against him, you see the way he goes about his work. He doesn't show guys up. He goes about it in a professional way. He does everything with class, the way you're supposed to do it."
Rosario wants to play through infected tooth
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies catcher Wilin Rosario sat out his third straight game Monday night because of an infected lower right wisdom tooth, but hopes to play Tuesday and will hold off on having it extracted until the end of the season.
Rosario said an extraction would cost him five to 10 days. Even though the Rockies entered Monday's game against the Giants 12 games below .500 with 18 to play, Rosario wanted to miss as little baseball as possible.
So a dentist flushed out the infection and gave him painkillers, and Rosario believes he'll be back on the field soon.
"Before yesterday, [the pain] was like eight of 10," Rosario said. "It's starting to go down."
Rosario, who is hitting .289 with 21 home runs and entered Monday second on the club with 74 RBIs, said it was possible he'd be available to pinch-hit Monday night, but noted that the medication had him woozy and facing fastballs could be hazardous.
"There is nothing as bad as tooth pain, and that's what Wilin is dealing with," Rockies manager Walt Weiss said.
Sidelined Fowler frustrated by multiple injuries
SAN FRANCISCO -- Rockies center fielder Dexter Fowler sat out for the third straight game Monday night, and the ninth time in the last 12, because of a twisted left knee.
This year Fowler has seen his batting average plummet when he tried to play through a bruised right index finger in June, saw the pain move to his right wrist to force him to the disabled list for nine games and now has his effectiveness or availability compromised by the knee issues.
Outside of his .262 batting average -- a dramatic drop from last year's .300 in 143 games -- Fowler has put up solid numbers in 113 games. He has a career-high 12 home runs, plus he has 18 doubles, 42 RBIs and 19 stolen bases, and his .369 on-base percentage is the second-highest of his career.
Fowler admits fighting frustration.
"You get hurt, get back and get hurt again, but there's nothing you can really do about it," Fowler said. "This offseason maybe you work on durability and stuff like that, but some injuries you can't control."
Manager Walt Weiss said there is a 50-50 chance Fowler could return for the current three-game series with the Giants.
• With Helton not feeling good, Weiss started callup Ryan Wheeler at first base Monday night. Wheeler hit .306 with 29 doubles, 12 home runs and 89 RBIs at Triple-A Colorado Springs. Weiss believes there is more in the bat of Wheeler, who arrived in a trade with the D-backs last winter.
"Wheeler has always hit," Weiss said. "The power is starting to come. He's a guy that's always hit for an average. He's an interesting guy, a big guy. The raw power is starting to show up in his batting practice and in his approach. That's in there."
• Rockies left-hander Drew Pomeranz (0-4, 8.10 ERA in four starts), who hasn't pitched since July 22 because of biceps tendinitis in his left arm, threw a bullpen session Monday at AT&T Park. Weiss said it's probably too late for Pomeranz to expect to start a game before season's end, but he could appear as a reliever if healthy enough.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb. Chris Haft is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.