"I might have been one of the last people to leave last night after the game, and our manager Stu Cole called me and said, 'Hey,' and told me the situation," Blackmon said before Saturday's game against the Marlins. "It was short notice, but I made it."
The situation came up because Gonzalez's grandfather passed away Friday. Gonzalez returned to Venezuela, and by Major League Baseball's bereavement policy, he will miss at least three games and no more than seven.
"I'm happy to be here," Blackmon said. "It's unfortunate the circumstances, but hopefully I can be here and help out."
Blackmon played 27 games with the Rockies last year, hitting .255 (25-for-98) until a right foot fracture on July 7 ended his season. The Rockies outfield has been tough to crack this year, with regulars Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler and Michael Cuddyer barely making room for standouts Eric Young Jr. and Tyler Colvin. Only two outfielders have been called up previously this season, Andrew Brown and Matt McBride, who made just one outfield start while playing first base three times.
"I talked to him about the fact of putting his pregame work in both corners of the outfield," manager Jim Tracy said of Blackmon. "Didn't want to pull any punches with him. I wanted to be right up front about the fact that if there's any situation that develops for him in the next few days or so, it would be more inclined in the corner outfield than it would in center field, because we've got three guys here right now who do a pretty [darn] good job in center field."
After starting the season on the disabled list with turf toe in his right foot, Blackmon rehabbed with short-season Tri-Cities, then played 55 games for Colorado Springs, where he hit .303 (69-for-228) with 18 doubles, four triples, five homers and 34 RBIs. He said his foot is under control and he's mostly dealing with preventative maintenance.
"I knew the adjustment that he made in Spring Training," Tracy said. "He's working at using the lower half of his body better than he did when he was here the first time around last year. If numbers tell you anything, it looks like he's driving the ball better from what I saw statistically."
Blackmon should feel at home in the Rockies' clubhouse, both due to his time with the parent club last season, and with his time in the Minors with so many of the young regulars pacing the club.
"It's great to see a lot of the guys have success in Triple-A and then come up here and move on and carry that success over to the big leagues," Blackmon said. "I'm all discombobulated. It's the first day, I've got stuff going on, and I feel like I'm late every five minutes."