ANAHEIM -- Not even a tear in C.J. Cron's shoulder will stop him from beginning his professional baseball career on Wednesday. The Angels' first-round Draft pick underwent an MRI Monday, which reconfirmed a labral tear in his right shoulder. Still, the first baseman officially signed with the organization Tuesday and will report to Orem, Utah, on Wednesday to begin his career in rookie ball with the Pioneer League's Orem Owlz. Cron still managed to put together an impressive junior season for the Utah Utes despite that ailment, tallying 26 doubles, 15 home runs and 59 RBIs while earning All-America honors for the second straight year.
He said his shoulder is only a nuisance defensively, but not when swinging the bat. That might slot him as a designated hitter while in Orem, scouting director Ric Wilson said. "When I have to make a throw, there's a sharp pain," Cron said. "Then it will go away." Wilson said the club wasn't too concerned with the injury, as evidenced by the Angels using the 18th overall pick to select him earlier this month. "We saw his medicals, and he played all year with it," Wilson said. "We'll fix it. If he was a left fielder or a third baseman, that might've made a difference. But for him, it's not as big a deal as people might think." At 6-foot-4 and 230 pounds, Cron is a strong hitter who can drive the ball, but he also hits for contact well, batting .434 this past season. He hit 20 homers and knocked in 81 runs at full strength as a sophomore. Cron also has a big league pedigree. His father, Chris Cron, made his Major League debut with the Angels in 1991 and is now a manager with the Erie SeaWolves, Detroit's Double-A affiliate. "C.J. is someone I've known for quite a while now, and we're getting not only a guy with great ability, but a truly good person," Wilson said.