Blackmon adjusting to life in the big leagues

Blackmon adjusting to life in the big leagues

Blackmon adjusting to life in the big leagues
DENVER -- Charlie Blackmon has taken a textbook route to the Major Leagues -- for an accelerated class. Now in his fourth professional season, he's moved up a level every year, making his Triple-A debut on Opening Day this season and making his first big league appearance in a start on June 7.

Blackmon hit .312 through his first three years in the Minors and was hitting .337 with 10 homers and 49 RBIs in 58 games for Colorado Springs when he got the call to the parent club, taking the injured Dexter Fowler's spot on the Rockies' roster. He kept the surge going in the Majors, with his average peaking at .410 after a 4-for-4 outing on June 17.

But opposing staffs have started to pay attention to the left fielder, and he suffered through a 1-for-20 road trip, cooling his average to a respectable .277 before returning to Coors Field on Tuesday.

"I'm getting pitched a little differently," Blackmon said. "I've had to make a few adjustments, but that's nothing new. It's baseball. I'm not seeing just fastballs away, the standard stuff, I'm seeing a little bit of everything."

Among the adjustments Blackmon has made this season is switching from center field, after playing it his whole professional career, to the corner outfield positions. He's made all his starts with the Rockies in left.

"It's not as easy as I thought it would be," Blackmon said. "You get so used to being in one spot, and you see exactly where the pitch is going and you see the swing and you see exactly how the ball comes off the bat. Then you're over here on the side, and it's a completely different angle. You don't get as true as a read. There's more side spin. It's different."

The move was made in Spring Training, in hopes of finding the ideal route to the Majors.

"Quite frankly, it made a lot more sense from the standpoint of getting him to the big leagues. If the situation suggested that we need the guy, obviously that situation came about, he'd be better served playing in a corner," said Colorado manager Jim Tracy. "If you're pinning me down, I personally feel that Charlie Blackmon's best place in the big leagues is going to be as a corner outfielder."

Part of the problem for Blackmon was Fowler's prowess in center field, alongside Carlos Gonzalez, who won a Gold Glove in 2010 while logging more games at center then any of the three other two outfield positions. Ironically, it was Fowler's injury that opened the door for Blackmon, but he has shown the ability to handle the wide open spaces of Coors Field's left side in his first month with the club.

"Coors Field is very big," Blackmon said. "There's a lot of balls that are hit, and the problem is that it's so big, you have to play deep, but there's so much grass, so you see balls that are in the air for a while and you feel like you should be able to catch them -- but you just don't get there, because they're too far away. It's different."