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Former Ute C.J. Cron returns to Salt Lake with the Bees

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - Former University of Utah star C.J. Cron returns to his college field, this time with the Salt Lake Bees.
SALT LAKE CITY (ABC 4 Sports) - The Salt Lake Bees open the 2014 season Thursday night, and it's a homecoming in many ways for the greatest University of Utah baseball star ever, C.J. Cron.

"Driving in here was awesome," Cron said. "The only difference is I'm in the first base dugout. The field looks beautiful like always, the mountains are beautiful and I'm just happy to be back."

Cron played three years at the newly renamed Smith's Ballpark. He hit .422 as a sophomore for the Utes, .434 as a junior and became the only first round draft pick ever selected out of the University of Utah when he was taken 17th overall by the Los Angeles Angels. 

"When I got drafted in 2011 and I heard it was the Angels, I knew there was a chance that I could come back here," Cron said. "How awesome would that be to come back to my old college and see all my old friends again. It's pretty fun."

Cron will live with his old college roommate, but he's a professional now. Rated as the second best prospect in the entire Angels organization, Cron has improved every year in the minors. Last year at Double-A Arkansas, he hit .274 with 14 home runs and 83 RBI. cron had a stellar spring training with the Angels, but with $240 million man Albert Pujols entrenched as the first baseman, the club thought it better Cron start the year in Salt Lake City.

"It's always a goal to play in the big leagues, obviously," he said. "But if you were going to be sent down somewhere, this is a good place to be sent. I had a feeling that I wouldn't make the team out of camp, but hopefully if the year progresses as I'm hoping it should, that door can be opened down the road."

Some players have trouble adjusting to playing at altitude, but that won't be a problem for Cron.

"A guy that's played in Utah for three years of college ball," said manager Keith Johnson. "He understands that all he has to do is barrel the ball up, good things are going to happen as opposed to trying to create power. I think that's going to benefit him especially in his first year at Triple-A."

Cron has envisioned playing in the Majors his entire life, but now that he's one step away, he isn't putting too much pressure on himself to get there as soon as possible.

"There's pressure if you let it get to you," Cron said. "But at the same time, you can't really listen to it. I'm close, but at the same time, I'm not there yet. I just have to do everything I can to get there and live the dream."
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