SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — A couple of hours before the start of the 2017 Home Run Derby at Marlins Park in Miami, Charlie Blackmon downplayed his chances.

“Home runs aren’t my thing,” the Rockies outfielder said with a shrug. “You come watch my batting practice and I’m flipping balls over the shortstop. I’m going to have to do something a little different.”

For one night only, Blackmon supercharged his approach and hit 14 home runs during the first round. It wasn’t enough to beat out the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, but it proved that Blackmon can turn batting practice into pyrotechnics.

But launching majestic home runs during BP isn’t his thing. So what is? A consistent, methodical, rhythmic approach that rarely varies, day after day, week after week, month after month.

“I use batting practice to get ready to play,” Blackmon said. “I look at everything I do as preparation for the game.”

If the Rockies are facing a left-hander pitcher, perhaps Giants ace Madison Bumgarner or the Dodgers’ Clayton Kershaw, the left-handed hitting Blackmon has manager Bud Black throw batting practice.

“Buddy’s a lefty and he gives me a realistic look,” Blackmon said. “He throws the ball pretty firm and he’ll throw some sliders and curves. I like to see a fastball-slider mix. He’s tough, he’s really good.”

Black, 61, pitched in the majors for parts of 15 seasons, loves throwing BP and he’s been doing it for a long, long time.

“Probably the last five years of my career as a player,” he quipped.

So what makes a good batting practice pitcher?

“Durability, for one,” Black said. “You have to be able to go to the post, every day. It can’t be like, ‘Hey, Black throws a great BP, but he only throws once a month.’ ”

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