Blackmon aims to make mark in crowded outfield
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Once again, the Rockies' Charlie Blackmon is trying to break out of the crowd of outfielders and draw attention.
Blackmon succeeded in 2011, when he hit .314 in 19 Cactus League games, and the Rockies remembered it and promoted him in June. He hit .255 in 27 games before suffering a right foot injury that ended his season. Blackmon was impressive early in camp last year, but turf toe in the same right foot knocked him out of competition for a job and kept him out of the big leagues until the end of the season.
The injury last year prevented him from competing for a roster spot with Tyler Colvin, who had a solid season. Blackmon, 26, performed well in his late-season callup (.283, .325 on-base percentage, nine RBIs). But the big-league picture is crowded, and the Rockies have an impressive set of young outfielders attempting to make their big-league mark.
"Anytime you go from the offseason to any type of game, there's an extra level of competitiveness," Blackmon said. "There are a lot of outfielders in camp, and they're all good. You want to show everybody what you can do."
Blackmon made a nice first impression in Saturday's 11-2 spring opening victory over the D-backs, with a blistering line-drive single, while going 1-for-2 with an RBI. He was to come off the bench Sunday against the D-backs.
Blackmon spent the winter working, first by hitting .323 with a home run, six doubles and a triple for Toros Del Este in the Dominican Winter League, then by working on strength and speed. Blackmon's above-average speed was one of the reasons the Rockies selected him in the second round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
"Last year, I was in a good position and then I got hurt -- but that's part of the game, staying healthy," Blackmon said. "I'm not going to tell you that's anybody's fault. That's something I've got to overcome."