Baseball / Sports

Angels' Cron, Green vying for chance to stay

ANAHEIM, Calif.--Both C.J. Cron and Grant Green were in the Angels' lineup Friday night, Cron at first base and Green at second, giving the on-the-bubble players what seemed like a last chance to impress Manager Mike Scioscia and General Manager Jerry Dipoto before one is sent to triple A.

But Scioscia hinted before an 8-4 victory over the Chicago White Sox in Angel Stadium that the much-anticipated roster move to add a reliever and demote Green or Cron -- or, possibly, release struggling designated hitter Raul Ibanez and his .143 average -- may not come for several days.

"This is one of those stretches where we've been able to roll the dice with an 11-man pitching staff," Scioscia said. "We'll evaluate it on a daily basis to see when we need to add that arm. It could happen quickly or be delayed a little further. I don't know that we'll make it to the off day Thursday, but you never know."

Green, who singled during a five-run fourth inning and turned two double plays Friday night, is batting .359 in 22 games, and he is far more versatile than Cron, with an ability to play all four infield positions and left field.

But Cron, with his power and knack for delivering in the clutch, appears to be pulling away from Green in the race to retain a big league spot.

With two outs, runners on second and third and the Angels leading, 2-1, in the fourth inning, Cron laced a two-run double to left field to give the Angels a 4-1 lead and spark a five-run rally that made it 7-1.

The former University of Utah standout is batting .299 in 28 games, with three homers and 14 runs batted in. He is hitting .444 (12 for 27) with runners in scoring position and .533 (eight for 15) with runners in scoring position and two outs.

Granted, it's a small sample size, but as a comparison, Angels slugger Albert Pujols is batting .155 (11 for 71) with runners in scoring position and .138 (four for 29) with runners in scoring position and two outs.

That bodes well for Cron, but not so well for Green, who, when asked whether he has been playing on pins and needles this week, said, "A little bit. It's a different situation, something I'm not used to.

"It's in the back of your mind a little bit, of course; everyone wants to be here. But it's something I can't control. When the time comes, if they decide to make a move, they'll make a move."

Before the game, the Angels announced that reliever Sean Burnett underwent elbow reconstruction surgery this week, a procedure that will sideline the veteran left-hander for 12 to 18 months and probably will end his career in Anaheim.

Burnett, 31, is in the second year of a two-year, $8-million contract that includes a $4.5-million option for 2015 that the team will buy out for $500,000.

Burnett, who had his first Tommy John surgery in 2004, appeared in only 16 games for the Angels, spending most of his two seasons rehabilitating from elbow injuries and surgery to repair his flexor tendon last August.

He sat out April and most of May. He returned May 23 and appeared in three games, only to tear his ulnar collateral ligament on May 27 in Seattle. But Scioscia thinks Burnett will pitch again.

"It seems like Tommy John surgery has become routine, and the results have been great, but on the second one, there's a little more gray area on how he'll react," Scioscia said. "I know he wants to pitch again, and a year from now, he'll get an opportunity to do what he loves to do and something he's very good at."

Angels 8, White Sox 4

KEY MOMENT: C.J. Cron laced a two-out, two-run double to left field in the fourth inning, turning a 2-1 Angels lead into a 4-1 cushion and sparking a five-run rally that included Hank Conger's RBI single, Grant Green's single and Kole Calhoun's two-run double.

AT THE PLATE: Calhoun led off the first with a homer to right. Mike Trout singled, stole second -- his first stolen base since May 14 -- and scored on Josh Hamilton's double for a 2-0 lead. Hamilton also singled during the fourth-inning rally. Albert Pujols was in a five-for-41 skid (.122) before leading off the eighth with his 15th homer of the season and 507th of his career. Adam Dunn hit a two-run homer in the ninth off Angels closer Ernesto Frieri.

ON THE MOUND: It was a six-inning struggle for Angels ace Jered Weaver, who issued a season-high four walks and hit a batter but managed to limit the White Sox to two runs, five hits and strike out nine, a season-high. His biggest pitch was an 85-mph down-the-middle fastball that Dunn took for a called third strike with the bases loaded to end the third. Kevin Jepsen pitched a scoreless seventh and has allowed no runs and two hits over nine innings of his last 12 appearances. Joe Smith gave up a leadoff single in the eighth and hit two batters with two outs but got Adam Eaton to pop to first with the bases loaded to end the inning.

(c)2014 Los Angeles Times

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