Saturday Rockpile: Hawpe will miss World Baseball Classic; Greg Smith struggles; Rockies ticket sales down with the economy; List of candidates to replace Matt Holliday and Willy Taveras.

Top of the morning to you, Rockies fans. There's a lot of Rockies-related news out there, so I'll cut to the chase.

BRAD HAWPE OUT OF WBC

According to Troy E. Renck, Brad Hawpe injured his left pinky finger sliding into second base in yesterday's game, and will miss the World Baseball Classic. Hawpe needed stitches to close the wound, which will probably affect his ability to throw and get a good grip on the bat. Here's to a speedy recovery for Brad.

GREG SMITH'S LESS THAN DESIRABLE OUTING

In his typical "negative Nancy" fashion, Woody Paige suggests that Greg Smith's performance will be something that the Rockies can expect to see a lot of this season. Look, I know that Smith wasn't exactly brilliant on the mound yesterday, but come on Woody - it was the THIRD GAME OF SPRING TRAINING. The Rockies season (or the world, for that matter) is not ending because of a bad game by the newly-acquired lefty, who gave up three hits, three walks, and three runs in two innings. Woody also mentions that the Rockies will possibly never go into Spring Training with all 5 starters set. I'd like to see who does? Every team in the league has at least one spot in the rotation that they're unsure of at the beginning of each season. The real problem right now is the barely-existent offense, who I believe has more to prove than the pitching staff. What are your thoughts?

THE ECONOMY IS DOWN, AND SO ARE THE ROCKIES

In what I'm sure is a surprise to virtually nobody, the Denver Post reports that ticket sales and corporate sponsorship are down this year as compared to last year. Of course, the Rockies did not generate as much excitement for this year as they did the previous year, but that isn't really where the problem lies. In a down economy, just about everybody suffers. Still, the Monforts believe the team, and baseball in general, has value and that people will eventually come out to Coors Field. I agree wholeheartedly with the portion of the article which states that the Rockies need a fast start, more than ever, to regain the public's interest.

BIG SHOES (AND A LOT OF SPACE) TO FILL IN THE OUTFIELD

Thomas Harding checks in with a piece chronicling the club's attempt to replace Matt Holliday and Willy Taveras in the outfield. Just in case anybody has forgotten (or hasn't looked at our constantly-updated roster toward the bottom of the left sidebar), the Rox have a plethora of possibilities for the outfield. Front-runners include Ryan Spilborghs, Carlos Gonzalez, Seth Smith, Matt Murton, and possible convert Ian Stewart - five guys for two spots. Dexter Fowler, Dan Ortmeier, and Scott Podsednik are vying for the openings as well. I sincerely hope that Clint Hurdle and his staff pay extra special attention to each of these guys in Spring Training and come out of the pre-season with two clear-cut replacements.

ROCKIES VS. DODGERS

The Rockies battle the Cactus League's newest team, the Los Angeles Dodgers, today in Tucson. You can listen to the game with MLB.com's Gameday Audio if you're not in a town that is part of the Rockies Radio Network. Also, as is the case with every other game, there will be a game thread here at Purple Row.

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