<strong>Thankfully I saw (the pitch) out of his hand early, and I was able to put a good swing on it.</strong> – C.J. Cron

If you arrived at Smith’s Ballpark a little late Wednesday, you may have missed the first inning entirely. In the opening frame, six batters between the Salt Lake Bees and Las Vegas 51s walked up to the plate and all six struck out.

This led to the Bees retiring the first eight Vegas batters, seven by strikeout, throughout the first three innings before giving up consecutive singles. But thanks to a monster three-run homer from C.J. Cron in the bottom of the eighth inning, Salt Lake rallied to hand the 51s a 5-4 loss.

"Thankfully I saw (the pitch) out of his hand early, and I was able to put a good swing on it," Cron said. "We'll take any win we can get. It's fun to be in the locker room after a win, for sure. To come back like that, it's always fun."

While it was a collective effort among the Salt Lake pitching staff, the Bees received some additional help from rehabbing Angel pitchers Cory Rasmus and Mike Morin. Both are currently in Salt Lake City attending to injuries, but the two got here via different paths.

Rasmus was the starter for Salt Lake on Wednesday and has slowly been recovering from a core injury suffered in spring training that sidelined him to start the 2015 season. Having not started a game since last season in Anaheim, where he collected a 3-2 record with a 2.57 ERA, it was a positive sign for Rasmus when he struck out five of the six batters he faced in his two innings of work.

As for Morin, his season was halted after starting the year with the Angels. The right-hander appeared in 20 games for Los Angeles before an oblique injury sidelined him late in May. Next up for the North Carolina product was a lot of rest, which may prove harder for recovering pitchers than the actual injury.

“So just as important as it is healing the oblique, it's the progression of getting your arm back into midseason form,” Morin said.

In order to appropriately heal, as well as retrain his arm back to “midseason form”, pitchers like Morin go through a natural progression with multiple pit stops along the way. For Morin, he was first sent to the Arizona League to pitch just one game before making his way to the Beehive State.

Morin pitched in Wednesday’s game in the seventh inning, going one inning with two strikeouts. He'll also make appearances Saturday and Sunday before heading back to Anaheim. The back-to-back appearances for Morin will better simulate what he will experience as a reliever with the Angels.

Luckily for Morin, there are a few other guys within the Angels who have dealt with similar injuries. They've given the 24-year-old advice as to how to go about it. One thing the pitcher says is important is making sure that everything is handled correctly and promptly, rather than quickly and easily.

“I talked to a couple of guys on the team that had it, and some have been nagging them for over a year,” Morin said. “It’s because they didn't do it right the first time.”

And when his teammates aren’t helping him recover they are all goofing around in the clubhouse. Having been drafted in the same year with a lot of current Bees, or having played with some of them either in Anaheim or during spring training, Morin has developed close relationships with many of the players here in Salt Lake, including Jett Bandy, C.J. Cron and Grant Green.

Despite admitting he'd rather be in California, Morin attests that each stop along his rehabilitation train has been enjoyable, especially Salt Lake.

“Being with some of the guys that you become friends with over the time is one of my favorite parts,” Morin said.

Suffering an injury in the middle of a season can be frustrating for any player, but especially pitchers. Between going through a rotation and being limited on your pitches, the process of getting back to full strength for pitchers can be exhausting.

Luckily for the Angels, however, Morin was taught well and has the correct attitude moving forward. It’s not uncommon for athletes wanting to get back onto the diamond, even when injured, but the pitcher reminds himself every once in awhile that it’s all worth it in the end.

“Obviously, the competitor in everyone, you wanna get back out there,” Morin said. “But I’m 24, hopefully my career doesn’t end for awhile. So it’s just like, what’s two weeks in the grand scheme of hopefully a 10-year career? So I just have to remind myself that they are trying to help me.”

The Bees and 51s will conclude their series Thursday.


GAME NOTES: The 51s used a total of six pitchers … Despite pitching just an inning, Morin registered the win … Three Bees had multihit games on Wednesday ... The attendance was 5,552 … The 51s are the Triple-A affiliate of the New York Mets.


BEELINES: Salt Lake 5, Las Vegas 4

C.J. Cron's three-run blast in the bottom of the eighth gave the Bees the 5-4 win.

Bees record: 29-44

Next up: Las Vegas RHP Dillon Gee (first start) at Salt Lake RHP Drew Rucinski (2-4, 5.76), Thursday, 7:05 p.m.

Twitter: @GriffDoug