C.J. Cron wasn't the only reason the Angels struggled offensively for the first 2 1/2 months of the season, but he was certainly part of the problem.
Coming off a promising 2014 rookie season in which he hit .256 with 11 home runs and 37 runs batted in, Cron opened 2015 as the team's primary designated hitter, a player the Angels believed would help compensate for the loss of Howie Kendrick and Josh Hamilton.
But in his first 23 games, Cron hit .195 with one homer, six RBIs, 20 strikeouts and two walks. He began to lose so much playing time that the Angels sent him to triple A on May 25 to get regular at-bats.
Cron returned in early June but was sent back to Salt Lake after playing in four games. He was recalled again on June 29, his big league numbers (.204, one homer, six RBIs) still weighing on him.
"It was hard in a sense that I wasn't helping the team win," Cron said. "The offense wasn't clicking, we weren't doing things to score runs, and I felt like I was a part of that negativity. Coming back here, my main goal was to help the team win games."
That, he is doing, thanks to the rhythm he found playing every day at Salt Lake for two weeks. Cron hit .448 (13 for 29) with four homers, two doubles and 12 RBIs in games since his recall to raise his average to .255 entering Saturday night's game against Seattle. Two of his homers came in Friday night's 7-3 win over the Mariners.
"My timing is right — that's the key to hitting," Cron said. "Be on time, and good things are going to happen. Hitting is a game of runs. Sometimes you're seeing the ball well, sometimes you aren't. You have to capitalize on the times you're doing well."
Jered Weaver (left-hip inflammation) threw a 20-pitch simulated inning to hitters Saturday. He will throw another simulated game Thursday, after which the Angels will determine whether to activate him after the All-Star break or send him on a minor league stint.
"I think we're all excited about the direction he's moving," Manager Mike Scioscia said. "He was much better today than he was in his last couple of starts."
Closer Huston Street, who suffered a right-groin injury Wednesday night in Colorado, received treatment Saturday and will activate his arm Sunday.
Left-hander Andrew Heaney (2-0, 1.77 ERA) will oppose Seattle right-hander Taijuan Walker (7-6, 4.53 ERA) at Safeco Field on Sunday at 1 p.m. TV: FS West; Radio: 830.