Helton embarrassed by DUI, asks for ‘forgiveness’
DENVER – Five-time All-Star Todd Helton was arrested early Wednesday on a charge of driving under the influence.
The Colorado Rockies first baseman was arrested at about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday in the Denver suburb of Thornton. In a statement released by the Rockies, Helton said he is embarrassed, then apologized to his family, the team and the community.
“I hold myself to a high standard and take my responsibility as a public figure very seriously,” Helton said. “I humbly ask your forgiveness.”
Officials in Thornton said Helton was arrested after someone called police to report a drunken driver. They said Helton’s blood-alcohol content was more than the legal limit, but they haven’t released the number.
Helton is a career .320 hitter. The 39-year-old played only 69 games last year before undergoing hip surgery in August. He is expected to return for his 17th season this year.
Helton is the most accomplished player in franchise history, collecting 2,420 hits, 354 home runs and 1,345 RBIs.
Americans lose their first World Cup qualifier
SAN PEDRO SULA, Honduras – Jerry Bengston took advantage of a defensive mix-up to score the go-ahead goal in the 79th minute, and Honduras rallied to beat the United States 2-1 on Wednesday in the opener of the final qualifying round for next year’s World Cup.
Clint Dempsey put the Americans ahead in the 36th minute, but the Americans, using a new-look defense that featured Omar Gonzalez and Timmy Chandler, gave up the lead when Juan Carlos Garcia tied the score in the 40th.
Bengston, who plays for Major League Soccer’s New England Revolution, scored the winner when defender Geoff Cameron and goalkeeper Tim Howard both went for a pass by Maynor Figueroa to Oscar Boniek Garcia. That allowed Garcia to tap the ball across to Bengston for a shot into an open net, and Gonzalez was too late to challenge him.
Nadal wins in straight sets in his return to singles play
VINA DEL MAR, Chile – Rafael Nadal rebounded from a poor start to defeat Federico Delbonis of Argentina 6-3, 6-2 on Wednesday in the second round of the VTR Open.
It was his first singles match since losing in Wimbledon more than seven months ago.
Nadal won in doubles Tuesday with partner Juan Monaco, but the singles debut was a bigger test for the Spaniard and his injured left knee, which kept him away from the competitive game since June 28.
The seven-time French Open champion said Tuesday he’s tired of answering questions about his knee and must adjust to playing with the pain. Nadal has not had surgery and is undergoing therapy and playing with a bandage. He’s acknowledged he’s less than 100 percent, and his coach and uncle Toni Nadal has said doctors expect him to have to play with discomfort.
Bad backs hurt Williamses; Venus withdraws from Qatar
DOHA, Qatar – Venus Williams withdrew from next week’s Qatar Open because of an ongoing lower back injury.
The 23rd-ranked Williams has been hampered by back problems since the Australian Open. She missed the Open GDF Suez tournament and will skip the upcoming Fed Cup match against Italy because of the injury.
Andrea Hlavackova will replace Williams in the Qatar tournament.
Williams lost in straight sets to Maria Sharapova in the third round of the Australian Open, then lost in the quarterfinals of the doubles alongside younger sister Serena.
Serena Williams, who complained of back pain during her Australian Open quarterfinals loss, is scheduled to play at Qatar.