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Could Angels try slugging prospect C.J. Cron at catcher?

July 14, 2013|By Bill Shaikin
  • Angels prospect C.J. Cron congratulates Matt Davidson after his home run in the fourth inning of the Futures game Sunday at Citi Field.
Angels prospect C.J. Cron congratulates Matt Davidson after his home run… (Elsa Garrison / Getty Images )

NEW YORK -- When the Angels selected first baseman C.J. Cron in the first round of the 2011 draft, they had a decided lack of power in the organization.

Mark Trumbo was a rookie. Mike Trout had yet to make his major-league debut. Albert Pujols still played for the St. Louis Cardinals, Josh Hamilton for the Texas Rangers.

Cron, 23, has emerged as one of the top slugging prospects in the minor leagues. He batted cleanup for the U.S. team in Sunday's Futures game.

But he plays first base and designated hitter, the positions shared by Pujols and Trumbo. Can Cron play any other position?

"I've been a catcher my whole life," he said.

Cron moved from catcher to first base after he injured his shoulder at the University of Utah; the Angels signed him as a first baseman. The shoulder was surgically repaired last winter, and Cron said he would consider moving back to catcher if the Angels asked.

"It's definitely a conversation that might come up," he said.

However, General Manager Jerry Dipoto said a tryout at catcher is "not something we're currently considering" for Cron.

"C.J. is progressing at the appropriate pace, has made strides defensively," Dipoto said, "and we view his future role as a first baseman-DH at the major-league level."

The Angels do not need to trade Cron. They could trade Peter Bourjos and return Trout to center field, once and for all. They could trade Trumbo for a young starting pitcher they could control for several years.

In the meantime, Cron will return to double-A Arkansas, with high regard for the current Angels.

"They have a great lineup," Cron said. "I'm in double-A now. I want to make it tough on the organization to keep me there."

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