ATLANTA -- Growing up a Braves fan in Suwannee, Ga., Rockies outfielder Charlie Blackmon's path to the Majors was the stuff most young baseball fans who live in Georgia dream about.
During his days at North Gwinnett High School, Blackmon worked with private hitting coach Howie McCann, the father of former Braves catcher Brian McCann.
"I thought it was neat and definitely let me know that this guy knows what he's talking about," Blackmon said. "His son is such a good player and playing for the Braves and me growing up in Atlanta, it was a big deal for me."
Although Blackmon stopped working with the elder McCann as he moved on to Young Harris Junior College in mountainous northern Georgia before transferring to Georgia Tech in late 2006, he feels his time with the current Yankees backstop's father helped him become the hitter he is today.
"I'm much more aware of the fundamentals of my swing and I can make the adjustments a little quicker," Blackmon said. "He was one of those guys that helped me realize when your fundamentals are wrong, you need to notice what's going on and make the adjustment."
Once Blackmon became a Yellow Jacket, he got his first taste of playing at the park that hosted the team he grew up watching. Each year, Georgia Tech and the University of Georgia play a game under the lights at Turner Field.
Blackmon did not actually play at the Ted until 2008, finishing 2-for-4 in defeat, but he remembers the experience of being in the dugout and the clubhouse during his redshirt season with the Yellow Jackets in 2007.
"Really cool and different -- very different," Blackmon said. "Different atmosphere, different background and everything. It was cool to get to play here. I really enjoyed it."
Although Blackmon was able to give up his Braves fandom pretty easily when the Rockies made him their second-round selection in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft, some of his friends and family members who have come out to support him in this weekend's series against the Braves have had a tougher time.
"It depends on who you ask," Blackmon said, laughing. "A lot of them are torn between they want the Braves to do good and they want me to do good as well, but a lot of Braves fans in the family and friends. Big time."
Tulo OK after hurting ankle on backswing, exiting early
ATLANTA -- The Rockies received a scare when shortstop Troy Tulowitzki did not come back out of the dugout for the bottom of the eighth after hitting his left ankle with his backswing in the top half of the inning in Sunday's 7-0 loss to the Braves.
But the three-time All-Star, who had his ankle wrapped in ice following the game, said he was fine.
"I'm OK," Tulowitzki said. "My backswing hit my foot. I think I'm all right."
The Rockies had already lost half of the left side of their infield when third baseman Nolan Arenado suffered a mallet fracture in his left middle finger on Friday night. He is expected miss at least a month due to the injury.
But Colorado manager Walt Weiss reaffirmed that Tulowitzki, who leads the Majors in batting at .375, will likely be back in the lineup when the Rockies begin a three-game series against the Phillies on Monday in Philadelphia.
"He's OK," Weiss said. "He just hit his ankle on the backswing. He'll be fine."
CarGo back in lineup with troubled finger 'good to go'
ATLANTA -- Carlos Gonzalez returned to the Rockies lineup on Sunday after missing three games due to swelling in his left index finger. He started in left field and was slotted into the cleanup spot.
"It's good," Gonzalez said. "Actually, yesterday I took [batting practice], and it was feeling good. They just decided to give me an extra day, and I feel good to go."
Colorado manager Walt Weiss said the club will continue to monitor the condition of Gonzalez's finger.
"This thing's popped up," Weiss said. "It popped up last year and then again this year, so we'll absolutely keep an eye on him. I feel comfortable that he's ready to go out there and take four or five at-bats."
Rockies third baseman Nolan Arenado is scheduled to meet with orthopedic surgeon Thomas Graham when Colorado travels to Cleveland at the end of the month after he suffered a mallet fracture in his left middle finger on Friday night at Turner Field.
Gonzalez will also meet with Graham, but he said the visit is "just a normal check-up, nothing big." Gonzalez believes the issue with his finger might be a result of changing his grip on the bat during the offseason.
Weiss made Gonzalez available as a pinch-hitter the past two days, even sending him out to the on-deck circle in Friday night's loss. But the club wanted to be cautious, not giving Gonzalez a full game of at-bats until his finger was ready to handle that workload.
"These injuries happen," Gonzalez said. "It's nothing major. It's just one of those things that hurts, but something that you have to deal [with] and try to fix it with treatment and stuff, but it's nothing major, which is good."
With Arenado now sidelined for at least a month, Gonzalez hopes he can give the Colorado offense a lift. He has hit safely in 15 of his past 20 games since April 28, batting .325 (26-for-80) with three homers, eight doubles and 14 RBIs during that stretch.
Despite his recent success, Gonzalez feels he has yet to get into a groove with the bat in his hands.
"I haven't gotten to the point where I get a lot of hits and do a lot of damage for that long of a period, but that's how this game is," Gonzalez said. "I just continue to work and I know that's going to happen soon.
"I'm not worried about it. I don't even really think about it because I haven't done it [worried] in the past, so why should I do it now? That's how baseball is. Sometimes, it treats you right. Sometimes, it treats you bad."
Weiss recalls Braves tenure, stellar play in '99 NLDS
ATLANTA -- Braves fans may recognize Rockies manager Walt Weiss as the man who helped the club win its fifth and final National League pennant of the 1990s.
In a crucial Game 3 of the 1999 National League Division Series in the Astrodome, Atlanta and Houston were tied in the bottom of the 10th with the bases loaded and one out. Tony Eusebio then hit a sharp grounder that looked like a game-winning single.
However, Weiss dove to his left to snag the ball before firing a throw home that beat Ken Caminiti by only a couple of steps. The Braves went on to win that game, 5-3, in 12 innings en route to taking the series in four.
"Just an unbelievable play," said former Braves outfielder and current television analyst Brian Jordan, who knocked in Game 3's go-ahead runs with a 12th-inning double. "An athletic play that you don't see often, especially with the game on the line. You know when they use the term, 'Leaving it out there?' Well, Walt left it out there on that play and that really saved it for us."
Weiss remembers his time in Atlanta fondly. He spent three years as part of the Braves' run of 14 straight division titles, a streak Weiss feels will never be matched.
Most of all, Weiss appreciates what he learned from former Atlanta manager Bobby Cox, who will be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July.
"The greatest thing about Bobby was that he was the best I've ever been around at creating loyalty amongst the group because of the way he treated people," Weiss said. "The respect he gave to the game and the players, even the opponent, in all aspects of the game, the respect that he gave, I think, came back many times over because of the type of person that he was and the way he treated people."
Jordan recognized managerial qualities in Weiss back when they were teammates, praising the former shortstop's leadership after the Braves lost both first baseman Andres Galarraga and catcher Javy Lopez during the 1999 season for health reasons.
"He's one of those quiet leaders that goes out there and leads by example," Jordan said. "He's very intense, though, to be so quiet and humble. When he's out there, it's just like he puts his game face on and he makes it happen. I enjoyed him as a teammate. He was good in the clubhouse, but man, he won the game for us with that play."
Joe Morgan is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.