C.J. Cron is proving to be money well spent for the Colorado Rockies, who face the visiting Philadelphia Phillies in their series opener on Monday night.

Cron was looking for another chance after the pandemic-shortened season of 2020. The veteran had played for four teams and had proved he could hit for power, but he wasn’t getting many offers.

The Rockies jumped in and signed him to a minor league deal before 2021. He rewarded them with a team-best 28 home runs and earned a two-year, $14.5 million extension.

Cron was offered his extension within days of last season ending, and he quickly signed the contract after the Rockies took a chance on him. This season, Cron has five home runs and has played solid defense.

“Nobody really wanted me,” Cron said. “That’s not the best feeling. But the Rockies made it abundantly clear that they wanted me to play first base for them. It was a great opportunity for me. Having a chance to play every day for the first time in my career, it was special.”

Cron hit two home runs in Colorado’s 9-6 win over the Chicago Cubs on Saturday night and has a chance to add more during the final three games of the homestand. The Rockies will send Chad Kuhl (0-0, 2.08 ERA) to the mound against the Phillies’ Aaron Nola (1-1, 6.75).

Kuhl is making his second start since signing a one-year deal with Colorado last month. He allowed one run in 4 1/3 innings at Texas on Tuesday.

Kuhl is 2-0 with a 2.70 ERA in five games — three starts — in his career against Philadelphia.

Nola was the Opening Day starter for the Phillies and got the decision in a 9-5 win over Oakland. He took the loss against the New York Mets on Wednesday, lasting just 3 1/3 innings.

He has yet to lose to the Rockies, going 4-0 with a 3.35 ERA in six career starts, and he has pitched fairly well in Denver. In three Coors Field starts he is 2-0 with a 4.12 ERA.

Philadelphia is coming off an 11-3 loss at Miami that saw Alec Bohm come off the bench as a pinch hitter late in the game.

Bohm, the runner up for the NL Rookie of the Year in 2021, hasn’t started in the field since a three-error game against the Mets last week. The poor defensive game hasn’t affected his bat; he is hitting .636 while serving as a pinch hitter and designated hitter, and he is focusing on that instead of not playing in the field every day.

“I’m not trying to worry whether I’m starting or coming off the bench,” Bohm said after getting two hits Saturday night. “I’m here to put together good at-bats and help the team win.”

Jean Segura returned to the Phillies’ lineup on Sunday and went 0-for-4. Segura had not played since getting hit on the left hand on Wednesday, although technically it was a jammed right shoulder that kept him out.

–Field Level Media