Will Hank Conger‘s wild arm behind the plate Wednesday cripple his chances of making the Angels?
Manager Mike Scioscia didn’t lay down a red carpet to his doghouse for Conger, who nearly decapitated Jered Weaver on a throw to second base Wednesday. Neither did Scioscia lie about where Conger stands right now.
In short, he can’t “deter a running game,” to borrow Scioscia’s phraseology.
“Hank has the ability to get to that level, no doubt,” Scioscia said. “Right now, he’s not. It’s still early in the spring. … We’re confident he’s going to find his release point and do what he needs to do.”
“If you rate how a catcher throws, it’s not as high as some other things he needs to bring,” Scioscia said. He specifically mentioned how a catcher relates to the pitcher, defends his position and calls a game.
That’s good for Conger, who threw out just 28 percent of attempted base-stealers last season at Triple-A Salt Lake. He is battling for the backup catcher’s position with John Hester
, who was slightly better in throwing out runners (30 percent) and is seen as the better defensive backstop.
“The catcher has to be able to deter a running game, no doubt, but that doesn’t mean you’re throwing rockets on the corner of the bag every time,” Scioscia said.