Alex Presley rejoining Pirates after brief demotion to minors

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Three weeks ago the Pirates demoted starting left fielder Alex Presley to the minors, but he’s on his way back to Pittsburgh now after hitting .277 with five homers and a 1.015 OPS in 18 games at Triple-A.

Those five homers in 18 games are just one fewer than Presley hit in a total of 105 games for the Pirates since debuting in 2010, but Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette notes that his return may have as much to do with Jose Tabata’s leg injury than his performance.

Presley hit just .220 with two homers and a .551 OPS in 34 games before the demotion, failing to build on a solid rookie season that saw him bat .298 with four homers and an .804 OPS in 52 games. At age 26 he’s not really a prospect, so the Pirates might as well find out of he’s worth keeping around.

Ian Kinsler lists the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central

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Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.

Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list

Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.

Angels demote C.J. Cron to Triple-A

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Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.

Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).

While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.