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Conger is back, but what does future hold for him?

Conger is back, but what does future hold for him?

Conger is back, but what does future hold for him?
OAKLAND -- Switch-hitting catcher Hank Conger made his way back to the Angels' roster as part of their September callups on Tuesday, bringing to light what could be a tricky decision.

No, the 24-year-old Conger won't take away any playing time from starter Chris Iannetta, who came into Tuesday batting .386 with 12 RBIs over his last 16 games. But this is looking like the offseason when the Angels must make a definitive decision on whether Conger will be a big leaguer for them or trade bait.

It's a decision that could affect whether Iannetta returns next year.

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"That'll be something we discuss at the end of the year," said Angels assistant general manager Scott Servais, a former catcher who oversees scouting and player development. "What happens with Hank, what happens with Chris, we'll have to wait to see how the offseason unfolds."

The Angels and Iannetta hold a mutual $5 million option for 2013.

Iannetta, acquired from the Rockies in exchange for pitcher Tyler Chatwood in November, has expressed his desire to return. And for the Angels, picking up their half would seem like a no-brainer.

Jerry Dipoto, who wouldn't comment on the decision, traded for him early in his tenure as general manager and Iannetta has essentially been as advertised. Despite missing nearly two months with wrist and forearm issues, Iannetta has built a good rapport with the staff and has given the Angels an on-base ability they haven't had behind the plate for quite a while.

But Conger has been in the Angels' system for seven years now, spending the last three in Triple-A. A right elbow injury limited him to 67 Minor League games in 2012, but Conger posted a .295/.347/.473 slash line and Servais volunteered him as a player who "made some nice strides forward" in the Angels' system.

Conger has always shown the ability to hit, but questions have always surrounded his defense.

Servais feels that's an area he improved on this year.

"There's always things to work out," Servais said. "I just think where Hank's concerned, Hank is very comfortable being behind the plate. We all know he's comfortable in the batter's box, but comfortable being back there working with pitchers, his confidence has come up, his ability to block the ball and catch it, and the throwing has gotten better, as well. Still a ways to go, but he's certainly moving in the right direction."

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