Posted on July 9, 2016 by Bryan Zarpentine

Los Angeles Times C.J. Cron

Image via latimes.com

The Los Angeles Angels placed first baseman C.J. Cron on the 15-day DL Saturday due to a broken hand he suffered Friday night on a hit by pitch. Cron is scheduled to see a hand specialist on Monday to further determine the severity of the injury, but he’s unlikely to return for several weeks. The injury to Cron is just one more nail in the coffin of the Angels 2016 season, as injuries have left the Los Angeles roster, especially its pitching staff, decimated and unable to compete in the AL West, despite recent progress in the form of the team’s current four-game winning streak.

Despite being prone to hot and cold streaks, Cron was in the midst of a breakout season with the Angels, hitting .280 with 11 home runs. The former first round pick has started to establish himself as a key part of the franchise’s future. He’s been one of the few bright spots in an otherwise frustrating and disappointing season for the Angels, especially with his performance as of late, as Cron hit .303 in June and was hitting .364 with five home runs thus far in July.

“It sucks, but it is what it is,” Cron said. “You never want to get hurt, especially under these circumstances when we are finally putting together some wins. It’s bad timing for sure.”

Angels manager Mike Scioscia echoed that sentiment. “It’s a blow to us and to C.J., who really picked it up,” Scioscia said Friday. “He really started to become productive in a way we know he can. We’re going to have to keep going. We’ll have to get some other bats in the lineup and hopefully remain productive.”

With Cron going to the DL, the Angels have recalled first baseman JiMan Choi, who had one hit in 18 at bats during a stint with the Angels earlier this season. Choi, who was hitting .327 with four home runs at triple-A, is expected to share duties at first base with Jefry Marte. Marte is hitting just .225 this year, although he does have five home runs in just 102 at bats. Los Angeles is also expected to activate catcher Geovany Soto from the DL on Saturday. Before going to the DL in the middle of May, Soto was one of the Angels most productive players, and the team is hopeful he can help make up for Cron’s absence.

The loss of Cron to the DL isn’t likely to have a huge impact on where the Angels end up in the standings this year, as they are too far out of contention to recover with or without Cron. But it’s always a shame to see a young player lost to injury in the middle of a breakout season. Despite the injury, Cron has done a great deal to make himself part of the solution in Los Angeles, and the Angels remain hopeful he can return before the season is over and continue to stake him claim as the team’s first baseman of the future.

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