DENVER -- Charlie Blackmon was late leaving Triple-A Colorado Springs' clubhouse Friday night, leaving him in the right place at the right time to answer a callup from the Rockies following Carlos Gonzalez's placement on the bereavement list.
"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."
Rockies place CarGo on bereavement list
DENVER -- Friday night's 6-5 loss was a tough one for the Rockies, but the game quickly fell into perspective for Carlos Gonzalez when he heard some bad news after the game.
"Carlos Gonzalez had to leave the club last night," manager Jim Tracy said Saturday. "He was informed after the game that his grandfather passed away, and so he returned to Venezuela for the funeral. We have placed him on the bereavement list, which means he will be eligible on Tuesday."
Gonzalez was noticeably somber Friday night as he quietly prepared some things from his locker for the club to pack and bring on the upcoming road trip, though the news of his departure and the reasons for it had not yet been released.
Under the bereavement list guidelines, Gonzalez must miss at least three games and no more than seven. Tracy seemed hopeful that Gonzalez would be able to meet the Rockies when they travel to New York for a four-game set with the Mets in the early part of the upcoming week, but the details were not all in place when Tracy spoke, and the club will likely support giving Gonzalez the time he needs to be with his family.
"What I didn't know when he left my office [Friday night], I had no idea about the arrangements or any of that type of stuff," Tracy said, uncertain what day the funeral was scheduled for at this point. "He needed to get going, and flights aren't the easiest thing to get into Venezuela. I think the fortunate thing is when he comes back, it'll be a little easier flying to New York from Venezuela than someplace else we could be playing."
Gonzalez has been a rock in the middle of Colorado's lineup, and he's ranked in the National League's top five in RBIs, runs, average, hits, slugging average, multi-hit games and total bases. He was voted by the players' ballot to his first All-Star Game this season.
Gonzalez was replaced on the Rockies' roster by outfielder Charlie Blackmon, who previously saw time with the big club in 2011.
Tulo runs bases for first time since landing on DL
DENVER -- Troy Tulowitzki took another step toward returning to game action Friday, running the bases for the first time as part of his rehab from a strained left groin that has kept him on the disabled list since May 31.
"It went good," head athletic trainer Keith Dugger said of the baserunning. "He's still a little while [away from being ready]. He's creeping in there. We need to see how he responds from this."
So far, Tulowitzki has progressed at a slow but steady pace, succeeding with every new stage of his ramped-up activities. Dugger conceded an "outside chance" that Tulowitzki could be ready for game action at some point during the week-long road trip the Rockies start Monday, with the shortstop along to take batting and infield practice.
"Picking up his baseball activity, the ground balls, he's pain-free, not thinking about it," Dugger said. "Still some stuff I want to do, uncontrolled environment-type running, tagging up on a fly ball over the shoulder. We can do that on the road too. He's getting there. He's real close."
Tulo was hitting .287 with eight home runs and 27 RBIs in 47 games before going on the DL.
"He keeps doing his work, and it's work that is pushing him eventually to a rehab assignment," manager Jim Tracy said.
Owen Perkins is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.