Cron, Green battling to stay when Hamilton returns

Cron, Green battling to stay when Hamilton returns

OAKLAND -- It'll likely be either Grant Green or C.J. Cron getting sent back down to the Minor Leagues when Josh Hamilton makes his expected return to the starting lineup early next week.

That part isn't all that difficult to decipher.

But picking a favorite is.

Both of them are hitting, both of them bring their own intrinsic value to the roster -- and one will probably be broken-hearted in a few days.

"It's tough not to think about it, that's for sure," Green said. "When Josh comes back, you know somebody's gotta go. You just go out there and play the days that you do, and hopefully when that time comes it's not you. But in the same sense, if I get sent down I'll be happy for C.J. Hopefully vice versa."

Since coming up on May 3, Cron has batted .323/.353/.585 with three homers, nine RBIs and six doubles, bringing the Angels legitimate right-handed power and the ability to occasionally spell Albert Pujols at first base.

Since coming up on May 2, Green has batted .377/.393/.491 while giving the Angels coverage at up to five different positions -- second base, third base, shortstop, left field and, in case of emergency, first base.

"Me and Greeny came up in a situation where we didn't have time to develop; we had to contribute right away," Cron said. "We understood that, and we understand there also is a decision that has to be made. We've both been playing well, so you can't really think about it. Or else, it can get to you. You just have to play your game and try to help the team win as much as possible."

Angels general manager Jerry Dipoto gave the struggling Raul Ibanez a vote of confidence 10 days ago, saying he believes the veteran designated hitter can recover from the .153/.268/.282 slash line he currently sports, pointing out that keeping Ibanez is the best way for the organization to preserve depth and indicating that they have no thoughts of releasing the 41-year-old.

Unless that changes -- and there have been no indications otherwise -- it'll be Green vs. Cron.

And it's anybody's guess right now.

"Every player who is up here has positives that you would look at for why you want to keep them on the roster," Scioscia said. "That's why it's going to be a tough decision."

Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.