Saturday, March 21, 2015

11-5 Fest: C.J. Cron Sets Angels Soaring; Justin Smoak Powers Blue Jays with Two Homers

Players of the Day for Friday, March 20, 2015

Grapefruit League

Smoak: 2HR
Seemingly on the cusp of greatness for the better part of the past decade, the Toronto Blue Jays continue shuffling, trading and realigning objectives in hopes of finding the right mix for competitiveness in the rugged AL East.

One such element of all this hoopla might be the emergence of long-ball specialist, Justin Smoak, snatched away from the Mariners during the off-season after a 2014 campaign shorted by injury.

Smoak played in just 80 games for Seattle last season, but he's back to good health, Smaok found his stroke in Friday's 11-5 win over the Rays, socking a pair of homers and driving in three runs for Toronto. The Blue Jays banged out 14 hits against five Tampa Bay pitchers, en route to their 10th win against eight losses.

A first baseman by trade, Smoak may end up as a DH, platoon player, pinch-hitter, part-timer or bench warmer for the regular season in the crowded, but power-packed Blue Jay lineup that includes established sluggers Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista.

Cactus League

Talk about burning up the basepaths.

Four LA Angels tripled in one inning - the third - in LA's 11-5 bombastic victory over the Cleveland Indians, a feat which has to be, at least, a Cactus League record.

Erick Aybar, C.J. Cron, Johnny Giavotella, and Collin Cowgill each legged out three-baggers as the Angels assaulted Cleveland starter, Trevor Bauer, for nine hits and eight runs (six earned) in 3 1/3 innings.

Turns out, both teams were just getting started with the hot bats, hammering out a total of 30 base hits in the game, half of them for extra bases.

Cron, a 25-year-old from Fullerton, California, who played college ball at Utah, finished 3-for-5, adding a single and a double, with an RBI and two runs scored. He's batting .395 with two homers, four doubles, six RBI, and yes, a triple.

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