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Hank Conger’s throwing problems may cost him Angels’ job

Mar 18, 2013, 12:48 PM EDT

Hank Conger Getty Images

Hank Conger is a former first-round pick and a pretty good prospect who appeared in line to serve as the Angels’ backup catcher this season at age 25, but instead his throwing problems have the team looking for alternatives behind the plate.

Kevin Baxter of the Los Angeles Times notes that Conger is 0-for-6 throwing out runners and has committed four throwing errors this spring, which has unfortunately overshadowed his hitting .417.

Conger has thrown out 30 percent of steal attempts in 202 career games at Triple-A, but has also committed 24 errors.

Ramon Hernandez of the Rockies is a name Baxter cited as someone who could be on the Angels’ radar, but this morning they signed Nationals castoff Chris Snyder to a minor-league deal.

  1. jarathen - Mar 18, 2013 at 12:56 PM

    As I said in the Snyder thread, some team has got to be interested in a good-eye switch hitter with some power who can spot in as DH/C/1B. That team isn’t the Angels, apparently, but the kid deserves a shot to play somewhere.

  2. Jonny 5 - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:04 PM

    The “donger” parallels here, Am I the only one who sees them?

    • manchestermiracle - Mar 18, 2013 at 7:52 PM

      No more yanky my cranky, Donger needs food!

    • manchestermiracle - Mar 18, 2013 at 7:53 PM

      No more yanky my cranky, the Donger needs food!

  3. tc4306 - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:07 PM

    Conger was never in line to be the Angels backup catcher. After all, the Sciosciapath is the guy who preferred Jeff Mathis to Mike Napoli. Conger had zero chance.

    • cur68 - Mar 18, 2013 at 2:19 PM

      I gotta put this one on Scioscia, too. He kept dicking with Napoli till he had that guy totally demoralized. Wouldn’t surprise me if he was trying to “fix up” Conger’s approach to catching and screwed him up, too.

    • timothynoble41 - Mar 19, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      I agree. Just because Scioscia is a popular manager, doesn’t mean that he’s a good manager. With some of the 25 man rosters that the Angels have had during Scioscia’s tenure, Martha Stewart could have filled out the line up card and these teams would have won.

  4. kander013 - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:08 PM

    Terry Ryan, do you see this? Please drop Butera and pick this guy up.

    • dluxxx - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:21 PM

      Butera is gonna be lucky to sniff the MLB roster this year. No way we carry 3 cathers again. Mauer and Doumit will cover those duites and if one gets injured, then maybe he comes up. IF there isn’t a better option.

      • albertmn - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM

        I hope you are right, but fear that Butera will be carried again. Either Doumit or Mauer will DH most days (or Mauer at 1st if Morneau is DH). The Twins are always worried about losing their DH if their catcher gets injured, even though that comes up maybe once or twice a year. Why carry a 3rd catcher for a situation that may never happen when that bench spot could be better used on an everyday basis?

      • zzalapski - Mar 18, 2013 at 3:16 PM

        The Twins actually went out of their way to avoid arbitration with Butera. What does that tell you, besides that nepotism isn’t dead?

  5. asimonetti88 - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:15 PM

    Mike Sciosca has the weirdest evaluations of catchers. He goes for Jeff Mathis over Mike Napoli… now he seems to be casting Hank away… I guess he wants his catchers to be exactly like him. Conger may not be the best behind the plate defensively but I still want to see what he can do as the starter.

    • proudlycanadian - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:20 PM

      He wants catchers to be able to catch, throw, and call a game. What is wrong with that?

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:21 PM

        So why did he like Mathis then?

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:22 PM

        Because he could play the position.

      • dluxxx - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        Grit.

      • jarathen - Mar 18, 2013 at 2:01 PM

        We are talking about a comparison to Jeff Mathis, who once threw to Mark Trumbo at first when a guy stole second. He was no Yadi.

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 18, 2013 at 3:34 PM

        The throw to Trumbo was a good one, as was the time he tripped over himself and fell on his face during a rundown, allowing the runner to score.

      • proudlycanadian - Mar 18, 2013 at 4:28 PM

        Still at it. Napoli is an inferior catcher to Mathis. The Angels were not the only team to know this. The Jays did not want to keep Napoli. The Rangers did not try to keep him. The Red Sox do not want him to catch. The job description for a catcher involves a lot more than hitting.

      • asimonetti88 - Mar 18, 2013 at 4:54 PM

        “Napoli is an inferior catcher to Mathis”

        Defensively, Mathis has a very slight edge. Offensively, Napoli has a humongous edge. Jeff Mathis is easily one of the worst catchers in baseball and it astonishes me that he still has a job. His slightly below average defensive ability does not outweigh his total ineptitude at hitting the baseball.

  6. jm91rs - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:31 PM

    Sounds like the kid might have enough to make with a major league team, but needs to work with someone on fundamentals. If they aren’t getting through to him in Anaheim, ship him somewhere else.

  7. jerze2387 - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:38 PM

    Maybe he should just throw to 3rd.

    Even if he doesnt end up on the rooster, and gets demoted, just remember, My momma always said, “It’s better to eat $#!% than to not eat at all.”

    When the tough get goin’, go an’ get tough. theyre gonna send him back to Omaha, and he dont even live there.

    • jerze2387 - Mar 18, 2013 at 4:06 PM

      thumbs down? Guessing nobody gets the Rube Baker, Major League 2 references…

  8. Matthew Pouliot - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:49 PM

    This post is incomplete without the picture tweeted by Mark Trumbo yesterday.

  9. echech88 - Mar 18, 2013 at 1:59 PM

    I’m a fan of Conger but he really has been HORRIBLE behind the plate this spring. This team has a stacked lineup and iffy pitching. A quality defender behind the plate is more important than the added offense Conger gives over someone like Snyder.

    The other thing I’ve always wondered is how the pitching staff feels about him. You always heard starters talk about how they loved working with Mathis and I feel like that fed Scioscia’s weird fascination with the guy. It is possible some negative comments from the staff has soured the team on Conger behind the plate.

  10. halohonk - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:18 AM

    Gotta keep him. The kid can hit. Scioscia needs to get over his catch first hit later mentality before he pulls another Napoli/Mathis boner. The Angels are about scoring runs not throwing out baserunners. Keep him.

  11. andreweac - Mar 19, 2013 at 12:40 AM

    Conger should take a page from Mathis’s playbook and throw to 1B in an attempt to throw out a runner trying to steal 2B. Mathis actually did this against the Dodgers a few years ago.

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