Detroit Tigers first baseman C.J. Cron has elected to have season-ending knee surgery after landing on the 10-day injured list Tuesday with a damaged ligament in his left knee.
On Wednesday, Cron said he was considering delaying the procedure in hopes of finishing the 2020 season with Detroit, where he is on a one-year contract. But surgery became inevitable for the 30-year-old slugger, manager Ron Gardenhire said Saturday.
“Wish him nothing but the best,” Gardenhire said. “It was a pleasure having him here. It’s nice when you get to manage a guy like that. Class act. He’s doing the right thing for himself and his career.”
Cron released a statement on Twitter moments after Gardenhire delivered the news.
[ Detroit Tigers’ C.J. Cron needs knee surgery, could delay procedure to return in 2020 ]
Cron slashed .190/.346/.548 with four homers and eight RBIs in 13 games this season. His walk rate improved, taking nine free passes compared to 16 strikeouts. Last season, he had 107 strikeouts against 29 walks.
But he has always been a home-run threat.
Before the 2019 All-Star break, Cron registered a .266 batting average, 17 homers and 54 RBIs in 78 games with the Minnesota Twins. A nagging thumb injury that required surgery cut his second half of that season to 47 games, eight home runs and 24 RBIs.
He expects the recovery process from knee surgery to be lengthy, possibly forcing him to miss the beginning of spring training in February.
“I don’t think it’s going to be a super quick one,” Cron said. “I actually had something (previously) happen to my right knee, and it took about six to eight months. It’s going to be close. There’s so many unknowns and so much going on right now.”
Without Cron able to play, third baseman Jeimer Candelario will be used as the everyday first baseman, with Gardenhire shifting between Dawel Lugo and Willi Castro to fill the void at third base.
Evan Petzold is a sports reporting intern at the Detroit Free Press. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter @EvanPetzold. The Free Press has started a new digital subscription model. Here’s how you can gain access to our most exclusive Detroit Tigers content.