Conger hopes his play will prove he belongs

Conger hopes his play will prove he belongs

LOS ANGELES -- Hank Conger's most recent stint with the Angels probably won't last much longer.

Backup catcher Bobby Wilson, whom Conger replaced when Wilson went on the seven-day disabled list with a concussion last Tuesday, will play in a rehab game for Class A Inland Empire on Wednesday and expects to be activated by Friday. And starter Chris Iannetta, recovering from wrist surgery since May 11, expects to start his rehab assignment very soon and could return late next week.

A big portion of Conger's 2012 season has already been lost to a right elbow strain, which put him on the Minor League disabled list for a little more than a month. The remainder of it, which will mostly come in Triple-A Salt Lake, will be big for the 24-year-old, who's in his seventh year with the organization and is still looking to prove he can be an everyday catcher in the big leagues, as projected.

"It is big," said Conger, who has been called up for three straight years and started his 60th Major League game on Tuesday. "Even last year, I thought to myself the same thing -- I have to constantly try to prove that I can play every day. But right now, at this point, I feel that my catching has been getting better and just try not to worry about that. If I just worry about trying to get better, both offensively and defensively, things will work out in the end."

Few have ever questioned Conger's hitting -- he sports a career .299/.361/.468 slash line in the Minors -- but they have questioned his defense, particularly his throwing. Conger, though, feels he made big strides in that department during Spring Training and doesn't believe his previously injured elbow will stop him from continuing that progression the rest of this season, wherever that comes.

"At this point, I can't constantly beat myself over the head saying, 'I need to constantly prove this, I need to constantly prove that,' over and over every day," Conger said. "Right now, I feel like I'm in a good place."