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Angels demote Hank Conger to Triple-A

Jul 19, 2011, 6:05 PM EDT

Hank Conger Getty Images

Needing to clear a roster spot with fifth starter Tyler Chatwood returning from the minors, the Angels sent down rookie catcher Hank Conger prior to Tuesday’s game.

Conger was the better half of the Angels’ catching duo, hitting .214/.297/.357 in 154 at-bats.  Jeff Mathis, who gets to stick around, has hit .194/.243/.281 in 160 at-bats.

Mike Scioscia can and probably will argue that the Angels are a superior team when Mathis is catching, and he has the numbers on his side: the Angels are 28-19 with Mathis behind the plate, compared to 21-21 with Conger.

Of course, Scioscia has stacked the deck in a big way there.  Mathis has caught Jered Weaver and Dan Haren 29 times, compared to 11 times for Conger.  Conger has gotten the rest of the rotation 31 times, compared to 18 times for Mathis.

Also sticking around is seldom-used Bobby Wilson, who has spent the last year and a half wasting away on the Angels bench because he’s out of options and the team doesn’t want to lose him for nothing.  Wilson, who hopefully will claim a large share of Conger’s playing time, has just 34 at-bats this season, hitting .235/.308/.324/

  1. scatterbrian - Jul 19, 2011 at 6:50 PM

    There’s really no evidence to suggest that Wilson has been “wasting away” on the Angels bench. He’s no more than a backup catcher, so that’s pretty much his job.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jul 19, 2011 at 6:57 PM

      Sure, it’s not as though he’s someone whose vast potential is being wasted by the Angels. But he’s 28 and he should have gotten some sort of chance to prove himself by now.

      • scatterbrian - Jul 19, 2011 at 7:04 PM

        I see your point. I guess it’s not his fault he’s been stuck in one of the remaining franchises that still carries three catchers…

  2. cosanostra71 - Jul 19, 2011 at 6:55 PM

    Sciosca’s obsession with Mathis never ceases to amaze me. I can’t think of a more frustrating player at the plate than him. I believe his career average is something like .190. He doesn’t really even have discipline. He’s just a plain bad offensive player. And he makes boneheaded mistakes defensively.

    My man Hank Conger would be hitting somewhere closer to .250 if he could get consistent at-bats. He’s got a fair amount of offensive potential. I would much rather prefer him to Mathis.

    • archilochusColubris - Jul 19, 2011 at 8:28 PM

      But see, what’s awesome about Mathis at the plate is that he represents the AL position player most likely to be DH’d for, which is every true fan’s dream. When paired with Haren, he’s most probably the lesser hitting half of that battery. I only hope Scioscia will someday realize how entertaining this would be.

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