Conger takes demotion to Triple-A in stride

Conger takes demotion to Triple-A in stride

Conger takes demotion to Triple-A in stride
ANAHEIM -- Hank Conger's maturity level is frequently mentioned when Angels manager Mike Scioscia talks about the 23-year-old catcher from Huntington Beach, a couple of Mark Trumbo homers away from Angel Stadium.

It was evident in the way Conger accepted his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Tuesday as his teammates were preparing for a three-game American League West showdown with front-running Texas at Angel Stadium.

"When the season started, it was like it was going to be a one-week thing with guys coming off the DL," Conger said. "I've appreciated every day I've been here, and I think I've learned a lot. I was able to do some things to help the team, and now it seems like it's the other way around.

"I need to look at the big picture. Now it's time to refresh in Triple-A and get things going. I know there are things I need to work on, improve on. I tend to be hard on myself, but I have no regrets over anything that happened. I worked hard every day to get better, and that's what I'll continue to do."

Conger, a switch-hitter, offered much-needed power from the left side in Kendrys Morales' absence. That was one reason he made 42 starts -- the team was 21-21 -- and also why he was sent to Salt Lake.

A .214 hitter for the season with five homers and 16 RBIs in 154 at-bats, Conger is just 9-for-51 (.176) since June 1 and is a .194 hitter since May 1 after batting .273 in April.

Catching is the most demanding position on the field, and Conger's Minor League career got off to a slow start defensively because of early injuries, notably in his throwing shoulder. He had some catching up to do, and he is still in the process of getting invaluable game experience.

"There were definitely some things getting away from him as the season went on," Scioscia said. "On the offensive end, it's tough getting three looks a week. He's maybe over-swinging a bit. There are a couple of things for him to clean up.

"No doubt his upside is as an everyday catcher. That's obvious. He's definitely contributed to some things we've done, and we expect him back."