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North grad Blackmon promoted to Rockies

Photo by Ben Beitzel

Photo by Ben Beitzel

Charlie Blackmon wasn't in the Colorado Springs Sky Sox lineup Monday night, which was odd in itself. Then he noticed people were acting weird around him.

Not long after that, the North Gwinnett graduate found out exactly why.

The 24-year-old was summoned into his manager's office, where he found out that the Colorado Rockies had called him up to the major league club for the first time. He joined the Rockies for their Tuesday night game in San Diego.

"When I knew where (my manager) was going with the conversation, I slowly started to smile and couldn't take it off my face," Blackmon said Tuesday as he traveled to the Padres' Petco Park. "It still hasn't really sunk in yet."

Blackmon immediately began packing and hopped on a plane to San Diego, where the Rockies play Tuesday and Wednesday. His parents, Myron and Ellen, flew to San Diego on Tuesday for their son's major-league debut.

Colorado returns home Thursday for a long weekend series with the Los Angeles Dodgers, but Blackmon doesn't know the length of this call-up. An outfielder, he is expected to fill in for injured center fielder Dexter Fowler, who is bound for the 15-day disabled list after struggling with an abdomen injury.

"I've thought about this quite a bit," Blackmon said. "It's going to be cool walking into the locker room and seeing my name on an official jersey. Not a spring training jersey or a minor league jersey, a real jersey."

Blackmon converted from a pitcher to a full-time position player late in his career at Georgia Tech, a move that has propelled his career to another level. He hit .338 and .307 his first two seasons of professional baseball, both in Class A, and hit .297 last year in an injury-shortened season with Class AA Tulsa.

His hot hitting continued this season in his AAA debut with Colorado Springs, where he was hitting .337 with 10 home runs, 49 RBIs and 12 stolen bases. He had a 20-game hitting streak broken on June 3.

"I feel like I've had a lot of ups and downs (in the minors), but you look back and don't remember the downs as much," Blackmon said. "It's been a really good experience and I've learned a ton."

If he sticks with the Rockies, the 6-foot-3, 200-pounder would have a homecoming series next month. Colorado opens a four-game set with the Atlanta Braves on July 4.

Blackmon admitted to peeking ahead at the schedule to see when Colorado played in Atlanta, but he isn't too focused on that at the moment. And he knows he has plenty of hometown support, even if he doesn't get to play at Turner Field this season.

"I've gotten a ton of text messages and calls from my buddies in Suwanee already, people I grew up playing little league baseball with," Blackmon said. "It's nice to know I've got family and friends back home supporting me like that."