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Rockies hoping for return of '07, '09 magic

By Arnie Stapleton

Associated Press

Published: Wednesday, Feb. 15 2012 1:20 p.m. MST

"I know there will be some (big expectations) outside the clubhouse, but I hope we just focus on the job we have to do that day and not worry about the big picture," Helton said. "I think we kind of got caught up in a little bit of that" last year.

"Baseball is a grind and there's going to be ups and downs and it's how you deal with those that decides whether you're a good team or a terrible team."

Gonzalez said he realizes now that he got off to a poor start in 2011 because he wasn't as prepared as he should have been after a winter in which he signed a huge contract and was the toast of Venezuela following his breakout 2010 season.

So, he had a quieter offseason this time around and expects to return to his 2010 form, especially now that his right wrist, which bothered him most of last summer, is healed.

Tulowitzki also recommitted himself over the winter, holding what came to be called "Camp Tulo" in Las Vegas, where he worked out with several teammates, including Jason Giambi, Dexter Fowler and Arenado.

"Last year humbled me as a player, as a leader. And it humbled a lot of guys in this locker room," Tulowitzki said. "You look around and there's a lot of different lockers that are empty from guys who have moved to other teams. It's kind of a wake-up call for not only the guys who have been here for a while but also the young guys, the young prospects coming up, that if they don't perform and they don't put in the time, they're going to be gone."

One of the few things that went right for the Rockies last year was another solid season from Helton, their longtime leader who's confident he can carry over last year's sweet swing.

"I sure hope so. I'm going to go work on it here in a second," he said. "It's one of those things where surely I haven't forgotten how to hit."

He's just hoping the Rockies remember how to win games in bunches like they did in '07 and '09.

Follow AP Sports Writer Arnie Melendrez Stapleton on Twitter: http://twitter.com/arniestapleton

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