Rockies' Blackmon hoping for healthier season

A broken left foot suffered at Turner Field last July ended Charlie Blackmon's rookie season with the Colorado Rockies prematurely. But the outfielder from Suwanee made the most of his down time.

Blackmon returned to Georgia Tech for the fall semester and will report to spring training next month in Arizona healthy as well as with a college degree in business administration and finance.

"I did the whole shebang. The cap-and-gown pictures," Blackmon told Troy Renck of the Denver Post about his December graduation. "I was proud of it."

Blackmon, 25, can now concentrate fully on getting ready for spring training and winning a major league spot on opening day.

"I am cleared. My X-ray was 100 percent a month ago," Blackmon told the Denver Post. "Right now I have been running, hitting, throwing and I am probably a little ahead of my usual offseason schedule."

The Rockies have a crowded outfield after signing Michael Cuddyer as a free agent and trading for Tyler Colvin. Those two join returnees Carlos Gonzalez, Dexter Fowler and Seth Smith. But Blackmon wasn't overmatched after being promoted from Class AAA Colorado Springs and making his major league debut last June.

The former North Gwinnett standout played in 27 games before being injured running the bases against the Braves and batted .255 with a home run, eight RBIs and five steals. The homer came on his birthday, July 1, against Kansas City.

Jacobs rated Boston's No. 6 prospect

It continues to look like Brandon Jacobs made the right decision when he picked baseball over football. The former Parkview two-sport star is ranked as the No. 6 prospect in the Boston organization by Baseball America going into the 2012 season.

Jacobs, who turned down a football scholarship with Auburn to sign a $750,000 bonus deal with Boston in 2009, was 29th on the Baseball America list prior to last season. But the outfielder batted .303 with 32 doubles, 17 homers, 80 RBIs and 30 stolen bases in a breakout season with Class A Greenville.

Jacobs, 21, played in the South Atlantic League all-star game and was named to the league's all-star team after the season.

Gustafson re-signs with Cincinnati

Former Braves pitching prospect Tim Gustafson re-signed with the Cincinnati organization as a free agent. The right-hander joined the Reds last season after being released by Atlanta.

Gustafson, a former Parkview and Georgia Tech standout, was 3-4 with a 3.76 ERA for Carolina after starting the year by going 1-3 with a 7.28 ERA for Mississippi, also in the Class AA Southern League.

Gustafson, who turned 27 on Dec. 29, pitched part of the 2010 season with Class AAA Gwinnett. He was 7-6 with a 5.70 ERA for the G-Braves.

Prado agrees to $4.75 million contract

Outfielder Martin Prado has avoided arbitration with the Atlanta Braves by agreeing to a $4.75 million contract for 2012.

Prado, who made $3.1 million last season, is a versatile player who could be the long-term replacement at third base when Chipper Jones retires. He moved to left field in 2011 and slumped a bit, batting .260 with 13 homers and 57 RBIs. Before that, he had three straight years hitting above .300.

Prado's deal, announced Friday, leaves the Braves with three players eligible for arbitration: pitcher Jair Jurrjens, outfielder Michael Bourn and reliever Eric O'Flaherty.

Wilson stays with Braves

Infielder Jack Wilson is returning to the Atlanta Braves, agreeing to a $1 million, one-year contract.

The team announced the deal Friday. Wilson, who also can earn $500,000 in performance bonuses, gives the Braves a veteran to pair with 22-year-old rookie Tyler Pastornicky, who is expected to take over as starting shortstop after Alex Gonzalez signed with Milwaukee.

The 34-year-old Wilson was acquired from Seattle last season just before the trade deadline. The 10-year veteran combined to hit .243 with 11 RBIs in 79 games while making $5 million.

Pastornicky spent most of 2011 with Double-A Mississippi before a promotion to Triple-A Gwinnett. He hit .314 with seven homers, 45 RBIs and 27 stolen bases and spent the final day of the season on the big league roster.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this article.


Gary 3 years, 8 months ago

We are proud of you, too, Charlie. Congratulations to you for graduating this December from Georgia Tech! You lived up to being a student athlete, at North Gwinnett High School, Young Harris and Georgia Tech. A great role model for today's young baseball players. Glad to hear your ankle is 100% healed. Good luck this season with the Colorado Rockies!


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