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Valbuena's return will impact Cron, Marte

MLB.com @mi_guardado

ANAHEIM -- Now that infielder Luis Valbuena has begun a rehab assignment, an interesting roster decision looms for the Angels.

Valbuena opened the season on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, but he went 1-for-3 with two RBIs in a rehab game with Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Monday and is expected to be activated within the next week. His return will likely force the Angels to option either C.J. Cron or Jefry Marte to Triple-A Salt Lake, alleviating the club's corner-infield logjam.

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ANAHEIM -- Now that infielder Luis Valbuena has begun a rehab assignment, an interesting roster decision looms for the Angels.

Valbuena opened the season on the disabled list with a right hamstring strain, but he went 1-for-3 with two RBIs in a rehab game with Class A Advanced Inland Empire on Monday and is expected to be activated within the next week. His return will likely force the Angels to option either C.J. Cron or Jefry Marte to Triple-A Salt Lake, alleviating the club's corner-infield logjam.

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Manager Mike Scioscia has largely been using a first-base platoon of Cron and Marte, but he diverged from that arrangement on Tuesday, opting to start the righty-swinging Marte against right-hander Jesse Hahn in the Angels' series opener with the A's at Angel Stadium.

Marte had mostly started against left-handers, but Scioscia inserted him in the lineup against Oakland to give Cron a chance to work on his swing. Cron is batting .208 with a .259 on-base percentage this season and has one hit in his last 12 at-bats.

"Cronie worked out early, just trying to get a little mechanical thing out of his swing," Scioscia said. "We'll give Jefry some at-bats and see how it goes."

The left-handed-hitting Valbuena, who was scheduled to serve as designated hitter for Inland Empire on Tuesday, is projected to receive the majority of the playing time at first base against right-handed starting pitchers once he returns.

Marte, who is hitting .147 with a .237 on-base percentage in 2017, would be a more natural fit if the Angels want to maintain a lefty-righty platoon at first base. Cron and Marte both have options.

Worth noting

• The A's recalled former Angels outfielder Ryan LaMarre from Triple-A Nashville ahead of Monday's series opener. LaMarre was designated for assignment by the Angels last week to clear a spot on their 40-man roster for catcher Juan Graterol and then traded him to the A's in exchange for cash considerations or a player to be named.

• Right-hander Nick Tropeano (Tommy John surgery) said he's progressed to throwing from 85-90 feet every other day. He'll have to work his way up to 150 feet before being cleared to start throwing off a mound. The Angels do not expect him back until 2018.

Maria Guardado covers the Angels for MLB.com.

Los Angeles Angels, C.J. Cron, Jefry Marte, Luis Valbuena