PHILADELPHIA -- Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon won't be ready to stop when the season ends.
Having had his season interrupted by two major bouts with turf toe, Blackmon plans to play winter ball for La Romana in the Dominican Republic as soon as the regular season ends. The rehab was grueling, but regaining his hitting timing is more important than resting.
"Hopefully, I can get back those at-bats that I missed," Blackmon said. "I didn't feel so fresh when I was in [Triple-A] Colorado Springs, but since I've gotten here, I've been able to stay more fresh and get to the point where I am now. I don't feel fatigued."
Blackmon, 26, had an encouraging beginning when called up last season, but suffered a broken right foot and saw his season end after just 28 games. He was making a bid for an Opening Day roster spot when he suffered the turf toe problem in Spring Training, and had a relapse when he was trying to make his comeback.
After being called up to the Rockies on Aug. 18, Blackmon started slowly, but had a career-best four-hit game in Atlanta last week. He went into Sunday's doubleheader with the Phillies (he didn't start the first game) hitting .224 with four doubles and an RBI in 49 Major League at-bats.
He also has made a couple of defensive plays that called for speed and range -- an indication that he is past the foot issues.
"Months ago, I wasn't there, but now I'm at the point where I don't even think about it," Blackmon said.
Next season, Blackmon will be trying to push his way into a crowded outfield. Michael Cuddyer and Eric Young Jr., not on the roster now because of oblique injuries, will be back in a picture that includes mainstays Dexter Fowler and Carlos Gonzalez, plus Andrew Brown, who has shown offensive promise in limited opportunities.
Hernandez: Altitude affects recovery
PHILADELPHIA -- Veteran catcher Ramon Hernandez arrived in Colorado with plenty of big league mileage on his body, and the odometer has sped along this season.
Hernandez (.213, 5 HRs, 27 RBIs in 50 games) missed 42 games with a left hand strain, and has dealt with numerous bruises that didn't show up on an injury report. At 36, Hernandez knows to expect a little pain, but he admitted that the altitude of Colorado creates added challenges.
"The hard part is the recovery, the next day," Hernandez said. "In the altitude, you get really dehydrated and that's when the soreness comes out more. That can be draining, and when it's tough to breathe, it's tough to recover quickly. I have to learn to recover better.
"It's always tough. No matter how many years you play here, it's tougher than any place else. But you've got to figure out how to handle it."
But when the Rockies signed Hernandez to a two-year, $6.4 million contract, it wasn't to play every day. Rookie Wilin Rosario, with Hernandez providing advice, has moved into the top role. Hernandez said Rosario has gained enough confidence that he isn't in need of as much advice.
To be there when needed next year, Hernandez will have to develop a routine that will stave off fatigue.
"You have to have a routine -- the night before, my mind has to be set for the next day, and I'll know what I have to do," Hernandez said.
Part of it will involve rest, which will mean spending the offseason in Florida to let his body recover.
He does plan to make a trip to Colorado this winter, but that's not part of training.
"My kids want to go snowboarding ... I'll just take pictures," he said.
Thomas Harding is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Hardball in the Rockies, and follow him on Twitter @harding_at_mlb This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.