Something about the Angels' catching arrangement this season looks very familiar.
"Yeah, it does at that," veteran Jeff Mathis said.
For the past four years, Mathis has been the good-field, no-hit half of a catching tandem with Mike Napoli supplying the offense. Now, it is Mathis -- still unable to provide any offense -- and rookie Hank Conger (a .282 hitter so far) sharing the catching duties.
"Behind the plate, he's as good as there is. But he doesn't have his head buried in the sand -- he knows he has to bring more offensively," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said of Mathis, a .199 career hitter coming into this season who is batting .195 in 23 games this season. "He's probably not going to hit .300. But he shouldn't hit .200 either."
Scioscia has used Mathis and Conger essentially in a platoon system (with third catcher Bobby Wilson the odd man out). The switch-hitting Conger has not started against a left-handed pitcher yet this season and has just six plate appearances as a right-handed hitter.
"Hank has played well defensively in order to give himself these opportunities," Scioscia said. "I think, behind the plate, we're in a good place."
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