Colorado Rockies batter Charlie Blackmon hits a home run against the Kansas City Royals during the eighth inning of an interleague baseball game at Coors Field in Denver on Friday, July 1, 2011. Colorado won 9-0. The home run was the first of Blackmon's major league career. (AP Photo/Joe Mahoney)
Blake Wood and Charlie Blackmon went into spring training with a lot in common, both having reached the majors after playing at North Gwinnett and Georgia Tech.
Unfortunately, the former teammates are headed to the season with another shared experience.
Wood, a relief pitcher with Kansas City, and Blackmon, an outfielder with Colorado, will both begin the year on the disabled list after suffering injuries during Cactus League play in Arizona.
Wood, 26, had to leave a game against San Diego on March 17 with a sore elbow and isn't expected to be ready to pitch for the Royals until late April.
The right-hander appeared in 55 games for Kansas City last season and was 5-3 with a 3.75 ERA and one save. He struck out 62 and walked 32 in 69 innings.
Wood walked three straight batters after getting the first out in the eighth inning of the Cactus League game against the Padres in his fourth spring appearance and made three pitches to the next batter before Royals manager Ned Yost had to come to the mound.
"It's something that's sore and it's going to take some time to heal, but I don't think it's anything of a serious nature," Yost told reporters in Arizona.
"I've had stuff before, but I've never been taken out of a game before," Wood said.
Blackmon, 25, broke a bone on the outside of his left foot running the bases during a Colorado game against the Braves at Turner Field last July and missed the rest of the season. This time the problem is in the area of his left big toe.
"The injury is more than the big toe. It's the joint around the ball of my foot," Blackmon told the Denver Post. "It's very painful and whenever I put weight on it and rotate it, it really bites me."
Blackmon hasn't played since March 19, but he said the foot was bothering him about a week before that.
Blackmon had a .233 average with a home run in 13 Cactus League games when he was sidelined. He made his major league debut last year and was hitting .255 in 27 games when he broke his foot.
This hasn't been a good spring for major league products from Gwinnett County. Jason Bulger was released by Minnesota and neither Nick Green nor Clint Sammons made the Miami roster.
That means that the only players active going into the 2012 season are Brian McCann with the Braves, Jeff Francoeur with the Royals and Jeff Keppinger with Tampa Bay.