SEATTLE -- Angels catcher Chris Iannetta was signed to a three-year contract extension worth more than $15 million after the end of the 2012 season, a pretty good signal that the team viewed him as the unquestioned starter moving forward.
That might still be the long-term theory, but in the present, Iannetta's slow start (.218 batting average, six homers, 27 RBIs entering Friday) has him splitting time with improved young backstop Hank Conger.
Fortunately for Iannetta, this isn't anything new. The catcher, who turned 30 in April, went through this while with the Colorado Rockies, splitting time with Yorvit Torrealba.
"I know how to deal with it," Iannetta said. "Basically I do anything I can to help the team win when I'm in there. I come to the field expecting to win every day. If I'm in the lineup I try to contribute any way I can. If I'm not, then my job is to ready myself for the next time and pull for the guys as hard as I can."
One thing that has been encouraging for Iannetta is his ability to draw walks. Iannetta had worked 46 free passes entering Friday, putting him well on pace to establish a career-high in that category, and it has led to a very respectable .365 on-base percentage.
Still, Iannetta said he's not satisfied with his overall results.
"Obviously I want to be playing much better than I am," Iannetta said. "I've had a tough first half. I've had a few good weeks, and the rest of it has been a battle. Luckily, even when I've been struggling I've been able to get on base, which is good, but obviously I'm trying to get hit and drive in runs. That's my job. That's what I'm trying to do."
Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.