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Thursday Rockpile: Real fake baseball starts for the Rockies today

WOOT! Meaningless Rockies baseball finally starts!

Todd Helton and Jason Giambi get the week off. Also noted are improvements in the condition of Huston Street and Brad Hawpe, and the return from a stomach virus of Dexter Fowler, who appeared "weak and tired".

I'll have more about this later in a game thread, but without Helton, Giambi, Hawpe, Troy Tulowitzki or Clint Barmes, the Rockies roster for today's game skews toward the young and newly signed. Jason Hammel will get the start against Billy Buckner.

Troy Renck answered reader questions in a mailbag, highlights include Mike from Parker revealing to the world that he doesn't understand player aging curves (or perhaps how to value MLB players in the first place) and Renck's opinions that exhibition stats and push-up bras are deceptive. 

While the Rockies don't start their exhibition schedule until today, a couple of their rivals are already underway. Notably, the Giants opened their Spring with an 8-7 win over the Mariners yesterday. Reports had the fastball velocities of Tim Lincecum and Madison Bumgarner as lower than normal, and Lincecum threw only out of the stretch for his one inning of work as he corrects flaws in his elaborate delivery. I'm not getting my hopes up in either case of the pitchers not being ready for the regular season, but this does give us something to keep an eye on.

The Dodgers also start their Spring schedule today, but yesterday they signed Garrett Anderson to a minor league deal. With Brian Giles and Doug Mientkiewicz looking somewhat iffy as left handed bench players, the Dodgers thought it wise to add one more.