Rox's Blackmon surprised, excited for Derby

Rox's Blackmon surprised, excited for Derby

DENVER -- Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon will participate in the 2017 T-Mobile Home Run Derby at Marlins Park in Miami on Monday at 6 p.m. MT on ESPN. Blackmon said he found out about his inclusion a few days ago.

"I was taken by surprise," said Blackmon, who will go up against Dodgers phenom Cody Bellinger in Round 1. "There are a lot of guys that I would've expected to get picked before me, and maybe they were all asked and decided not to do it, but that's OK with me, so I'm excited for the opportunity."

Both Blackmon and manager Bud Black said Rockies bullpen coach Darren Holmes will pitch to Blackmon in the Derby.

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"I hit off the right side and Darren throws to me every day, and I'm very happy that he's gonna come," Blackmon said. "I was really worried that I would take away from his family time, but him being the good guy that he is, he was making it a priority."

As news broke of Blackmon entering the Derby, the center fielder launched his 18th home run of the season to right field in the fourth inning at Coors Field against the Reds. Blackmon trails only teammate Mark Reynolds, with 19, for the club lead in home runs. His career high for homers in a season is 29, which he set in 2016.

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"I think it's great," Black said. "Why not? Charlie's got, what, 18 homers? Let's do it. Let's get 'Nazty' in the home run-hitting contest."

Blackmon's solo homer to right

Blackmon will join Yankees sluggers Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez, Justin Bour and reigning Home Run Derby champion Giancarlo Stanton of the Marlins, Bellinger, the Royals' Mike Moustakas and the Twins' Miguel Sano.

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After participating in the Home Run Derby on Monday, Blackmon will be involved in his second All-Star Game presented by Mastercard. It will be his first start, having been voted in by the fans.

Max Gelman is a reporter for MLB.com based in Denver. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.