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After whirlwind few days, C.J. Cron joins Rays

New first baseman eager to join his new team
First baseman C.J. Cron, acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays on Feb. 17 from the Los Angeles Angeles, talks with the media Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2017 in Port Charlotte, Fla.
First baseman C.J. Cron, acquired by the Tampa Bay Rays on Feb. 17 from the Los Angeles Angeles, talks with the media Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2017 in Port Charlotte, Fla.
Published Feb. 20, 2018|Updated Feb. 20, 2018

PORT CHARLOTTE – C.J. Cron knew he was spending Tuesday night in a Punta Gorda hotel. Beyond that, he knew little of his future with the Rays.

"I haven't talked to anybody about anything really," Cron said.

The right-handed hitting first baseman acquired Saturday night from the Angels for a player to be named later, packed his things on Sunday, flew to Tampa on Monday, took the standard battery of physicals Tuesday morning in St. Petersburg and arrived at Charlotte Sports Park around 4 p.m.

"Not the normal start to spring training, I would say," Cron said.

Here is what Cron should expect once he catches his breath: a steady diet of left-handed pitchers.

"All the time in (the lineup) against left handed pitching," Rays manager Kevin Cash said earlier in the afternoon. "I think we look at him as being a guy we got to find some information about. Complements our team really well. Envision him playing a lot."

Cron, 28, spent parts of the past four seasons with the Angels chasing playing time behind future hall of famer Albert Pujols.

"I just had to prepare for any situation that was thrown on me," Cron said about playing behind Pujols. "If you're not a starter in the big leagues you have to be ready to be one at any time. I was never the guy at any given point and there were injuries along the way that forced me into the lineup. I think it took advantage of those, I'm hoping to do the same here. Whatever my role is I'm looking forward to it."

He is a career .262 hitter with 59 home runs. In a year interrupted by a foot injury, he hit .246 with 16 home runs and 56 RBI.

He has reverse-split, with a career slash line of .268 average/.315 on-base percentage/.457 slugging percentage against right-handed pitchers and .248/.288/.429 vs. lefties.

Waiting for Cron when he arrived at the complex were new teammates Steven Souza Jr. and Brad Miller.

Cron played with both of them in the Arizona Fall League. He also played with Matt Andriese.

The lineup in the AFL included Souza, Cron and Kris Bryant and Addison Russell of the Cubs.

"It was a pretty stacked lineup, for sure," Cron said.

Souza said Cron was the best hitter of the bunch.

"He just needs consistent playing time," Souza said.

Cron said he wasn't surprised when he learned Saturday of the trade.

"It's baseball, man," he said. "There's really nothing at this point that catches anyone by surprise. I can't say I was surprised, but it was still unexpected."

He said he's happy for the opportunity with the Rays. He likes to hit at Tropicana Field. He's hoping to find a permanent place to stay this spring (the Rays provided him with the number of a rental agent). He's looking forward to meeting his new teammates.

But when asked about his role on the team, he said, "I haven't even had an hour to think about it. I guess we can answer more of those questions in a week or two."

Contact Roger Mooney at rmooney@tampabay.com. Follow @rogermooney50

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