DETROIT – The Detroit Tigers have placed slugging first baseman C.J. Cron on the 10-day injured list with a left knee sprain.
Cron left Monday’s game against the Chicago White Sox after taking a line drive off his knee in the top of the fourth inning. The ball was scorched by Danny Mendick and ricocheted off of Cron into the infield grass.
Pitcher Daniel Norris picked it up, dove and tagged Mendick for the out, but Cron didn’t get up until well after the play.
He was eventually helped off the field by trainers, putting very little weigh on his left leg.
Losing Cron is a massive blow for the Tigers, as he was entrenched in the cleanup spot at the heart of the order. In 13 games this season, he’s slashing .190/.346/.548 with four home runs, three doubles and 16 strikeouts.
Though his batting average is low and the strikeouts are high, Cron made up for it with nine walks and seven extra-base hits. The Tigers’ lineup is desperate for that kind of production, which was sorely lacking last season.
Infield prospect Willi Castro was called up to replace Cron on the roster, but it’s not clear what role he’ll play in the coming weeks.
Castro is the team’s No. 7 overall prospect and has nothing left to prove at the alternate training site. He had 47 extra-base hits and 17 stolen bases in Triple-A last season while batting over .300, but his first taste of MLB action was a struggle.
Jeimer Candelario seems likely to move across the diamond and start at first base in Cron’s absence, leaving an open spot at third base. Though Castro would be the more exciting option, the team could also go with Dawel Lugo, who delivered a big hit in extra innings over the weekend against the Pittsburgh Pirates.
The Tigers are off to a surprising 9-5 start after Monday’s win against the White Sox, and currently sit in one of the American League’s five wildcard spots.