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Utahns in baseball: Former Ute slugger C.J. Cron could see more playing time in the majors

Published: Sunday, June 22 2014 10:30 p.m. MDT

Los Angeles Angels' C.J. Cron, right, hits a solo home run as Texas Rangers catcher Chris Gimenez looks on during the fourth inning of a baseball game, Sunday, June 22, 2014, in Anaheim, Calif.

Mark J. Terrill, ASSOCIATED PRESS

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Former Utah slugger C.J. Cron has homered in three straight games and might be headed for extended playing time with the Los Angeles Angels after the Angels granted struggling designated hitter Raul Ibanez his release from the club on Saturday.

Cron and Ibanez have split time as the Angels' primary designated hitters, but Cron entered the weekend batting .283, while the 42-year-old Ibanez was batting just .157 in 57 games.

Cron sat out most of last week during the team's road trip to Atlanta, but has played in the Angels' last four games and started all three games in the team's series sweep of the Rangers over the weekend, homering in all three games.

Robert Morales, an Angels beat writer for Long Beach Press-Telegram, wrote that the former Ute is making his case to stay in the majors for the long haul.

“Not many guys even get this opportunity, so when you do get it you want to make the most of it,” Cron told Morales, prior to the Angels' game against Texas on Sunday. “You don’t want to put any doubt in their minds that you can’t play at this level.”

Cron is now batting .286 since being called up to the big leagues in May, with six home runs and 18 RBIs.

Former BYU pitcher Jeremy Guthrie (4-6) also picked up his second straight win on Wednesday, lifting the Kansas City Royals past the Detroit Tigers 2-1. Guthrie struck out nine batters in the win while dipping his ERA to 3.86 on the year.

In the minors, Pine View High product Marcus Littlewood started the Single-A Midwest League All-Star Game at catcher and drove in the first run of the game with a sacrifice fly for the West team. The West went on to defeat the East 7-0 Tuesday night.

Former Ute pitcher Tyler Wagner allowed just two hits and struck out nine batters in five shutout innings for Single-A Brevard County on Friday. Wagner now has a 1.96 ERA on the year, which is the third best ERA among active pitchers in the Florida State League.

Meanwhile, fellow Utah alum Stephen Fife began his rehab from a forearm injury on Saturday. Fife allowed just one run and three hits in six innings for the Arizona Dodgers in the Arizona Rookie League. He last pitched on May 10 and was placed on the minor league disabled list two weeks later.

Dixie State alum Bubba Blau and former Ute Nick Green each debuted in the minor leagues over the week. Blau picked up a save after two shutout innings on Friday for the Rookie Brewers, while Green pitched 1 1/3 innings of shutout baseball on Friday for Idaho Falls in the Pioneer League.

The two are the first of seven players with Utah ties who were drafted earlier in the month.

Blau (Milwaukee), Green (Kansas City), former Utah pitchers Mitch Watrous (San Diego) and Tanner Banks (Chicago White Sox), and Sandy native Kavin Keyes (Seattle) have all signed with the teams that drafted them.

Only BYU pitcher Kolton Mahoney (Milwaukee) and shortstop Tyler Chauncey (Los Angeles Dodgers) have not signed since being drafted.

MLB

John Buck (Taylorsville H.S.), Seattle Mariners: Zero hits in 10 at-bats during the week. Despite a hit-less week, Buck appeared in four more games over the week, and eight of the 23 games he's played in this season have come over the past two weeks.

The Taylorsville High product is batting .232 on the season, with one home run and five RBIs.

C.J. Cron (Utah), Los Angeles Angels: Four hits, three home runs, three RBIs and three runs scored in 10 at-bats over the week. Cron doubled his home run count on the year over the weekend, homering in three-staight games.

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