Charlie Blackmon, who manned center field for the Colorado Rockies each of the past four seasons, is moving to right field this year. Rockies manager Bud Black made the announcement Monday at the team's spring training camp in Scottsdale, Ariz. Blackmon, a 32-year-old who has made three All-Star teams, takes over from former Colorado right fielder Carlos Gonzalez, who remains a free agent.
David Dahl, 24, is penciled in as the left fielder. Ian Desmond, who played mostly first base for Colorado last year, is due to replace Blackmon in center field. The 33-year-old veteran was an All-Star shortstop for the Washington Nationals in 2012 and an All-Star center fielder for the Texas Rangers in 2016.
"In our park, I like right (field) for Charlie," Black said. "I think Charlie is more comfortable in right. He played more right in the minors. David might have a little bit more range in left. Left field needs more range in our park." Blackmon, the Rockies' primary right fielder in 2014, approved of the move.
"The right field arm is probably more important than the center field arm, especially in Coors Field," he said. "The center fielder is so far from the infield, it's hard to throw guys out. It'll come into play a lot more in right field. I'm aware of that, so I'm gonna try to throw real good." Dahl has played more major league games in left field than in center and right combined, but he doesn't believe he has mastered his new regular home.
"I'd say left field is probably the toughest outfield spot out of all three, for me at least," Dahl said. He added, "It's pretty tough in left -- the ball comes off the bat a little different, especially at Coors, where the ball carries. You have to take good angles. ... "You just have to get some work in out there and get some work in during (batting practice) and drills and everything."
The leading contenders to be backup outfielders for the Rockies are Raimel Tapia, Noel Cuevas and Mike Tauchman. Non-roster invitee Michael Saunders, a former All-Star left fielder for the Toronto Blue Jays who spent all of last season in the minor leagues, is also in Colorado's spring camp. --Field Level Media