March 03, 2015

TEMPE, Ariz. (AP) It will be difficult for Angels manager Mike Scioscia to keep a player with the power potential of C.J. Cron out of the batting order this season.

At 6-foot-4 and 235 pounds, the right-handed hitting Cron is more than capable of slamming pitches beyond the fence at Angels Stadium. Cron will get some early practice with that this spring with the rocky butte beyond left field at the Angels' Diablo Stadium home.

The team's first-round pick (17th overall) in the 2011 draft out of the University of Utah, Cron was called up from Triple-A Salt Lake City on May 3, collected three hits in his major league debut that night and one week later hit his first home run.

He played in 79 games, hitting .256 with 11 home runs and 37 RBIs. He eagerly awaits the Angels' first Cactus League game on Thursday at Diablo against the Milwaukee Brewers.

''It's good to be in camp, getting the timing down with the swing,'' Cron said Monday after the team's workout was cut short by rain.

Getting called up to the Angels last season ''was exciting, the realization of a dream. It's what a baseball player always dreams of,'' he said.

Now it is up to him to make sure he is on the opening day roster.

Cron likely will hit in the middle to lower part of the order, with the top tier reserved for leadoff man Kole Calhoun, No. 2 man Mike Trout and No. 3 hitter Albert Pujols.

Cron also will be competing with new teammate Matt Joyce, who came over from Tampa Bay, for at-bats at DH. Joyce hits left-handed and can play outfield, while Cron has played first base.

Cron isn't about to take anything for granted. He knows the baseball protocol and has been around the game all his life. His father, Chris, is a long-time pro coach who is a hitting coordinator for the Arizona Diamondbacks. His younger brother, Kevin, is a catcher and was selected by the Diamondbacks in the 14th round in 2014. The Crons' cousin is former Diamondbacks catcher Chad Moeller.

''You have to come in, work hard and make sure you are prepared,'' C.J. Cron said. ''For me, having a chance to hit in this lineup on a regular basis this season is what I want to do.''

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