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Rockies’ Todd Helton busted for DUI

(Thornton Police)In yet another case where a professional athlete should have just called a cab: Colorado Rockies first baseman Todd Helton was arrested for DUI early Wednesday morning in Thornton, Colo.

According to local news reports, Helton was spotted driving erratically in his black Ford pickup truck. He was taken into custody on charges of DUI and careless driving, booked and jailed in Thornton, then eventually released. (Somewhere in there, he took this unfortunate mugshot that's on par with the Nick Nolte mug.)

For a guy who is pals with Mark Grace -- a two-time DUI offender who recently was handed a four-month jail sentence -- you'd think Helton might have learned something from Grace's mistakes. Apparently not.

Helton, it's even been written, wears No. 17 in tribute to Grace. The DUI thing? Probably not the best Grace attribute to emulate.

In a statement, the Rockies said:

We were extremely disappointed to learn that Todd was arrested this morning. This type of behavior is taken very seriously by our organization. We know that he clearly understands the seriousness of his poor decision, the harm that could have been inflicted on others and the embarrassment his mistake has caused to himself, his family, the Colorado Rockies organization and to Major League Baseball.

Todd is taking full accountability for his actions with his family, his fans and the organization. The man we have grown to know has strong values that are grounded in his family and hard work. Todd clearly understands the severity of the situation.

Helton issued a statement to MLB.com's Thomas Harding:

“Last evening I exercised poor judgment and was charged with drinking and driving after driving to a gas station near my house. I am very sorry and embarrassed by my actions. I hold myself to a high standard and take my responsibility as a public figure very seriously. My entire career I have worked to set a positive example for my family and in our community and I fell far short of this standard. I sincerely ask my family, the Colorado Rockies Organization, Major League Baseball and the community to accept my apology."

Helton, a career .320 hitter and five-time all-star who will turn 40 in August, is recovering from a 2012 season that ended pre-maturely because of a hip injury. He plans to play in 2013, which is likely his final year. Recently, Helton told MLB.com:

"The target date I have in mind is to be out there at the start of the season, and my goal is to get through the dadgum season."

Please, Todd, just don't turn to the sauce to do it.

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