Tracy won't douse Smith's spark

Tracy won't douse Smith's spark

DENVER -- Rockies manager Jim Tracy said the reason for the recent absence of outfielder Dexter Fowler from the lineup is two-fold.

Fowler, who has started just one game since the Rockies returned to Denver on Tuesday, is 0-for-6 on the homestand, and Tracy said they're working with him on some of the mechanics of his swing.

But Tracy also said the emergence of Seth Smith in the No. 2 hole and in left field has provided a spark Tracy does not want to extinguish.

"We're starting to get ourselves sorted out offensively right now," Tracy said. "The runs were coming at a premium as far back as 10 days or so, and we needed offense. Seth Smith is providing some of that. He has to play."

Fowler has struggled this season with runners in scoring position (5-for-26, .192) and against right-handed pitchers (16-for-98, .163).

Meanwhile, Smith is 6-for-16 during the homestand (.375) with three homers and is batting .284 vs. right-handers.

"It's no disrespect to Dexter," Tracy said. "I haven't lost any confidence in Dexter. Right now, the dynamic of [center fielder Carlos Gonzalez] and Smith at the top of the order against right-handed pitching is something I will not take away."