Iannetta's Signing Puts Off Conger's Arrival





LOS ANGELES—When the Angels made Hank Conger their first-round pick in the 2006 draft, it was no doubt with the hope that the switch-hitter would be their everyday catcher one day.

That day—if it ever comes—has now been pushed at least three years into the future. The Angels signed their current lead catcher, Chris Iannetta, to a three-year, $15.55 million contract extension immediately following the end of the 2012 season.

"I'm not sure," said Conger when asked what Iannetta's multi-year signing meant for his own future. "I'm just going to go into spring training and see what happens . . . Ultimately, I want to be here. I've been drafted by this team. I have a lot of friends here.

"Chris has done an excellent job. We'll see what happens."

The Angels farm system is thin on prospects at the upper levels and virtually devoid of blue-chip prospects with Mike Trout's emergence at the big league level and Jean Segura's inclusion in the trade that brought Zack Greinke from the Brewers. That could make the 24-year-old Conger one of general manager Jerry Dipoto's few trade chips this winter as he tries to address needs in the bullpen and rotation.

"We believe in Hank's future, whether that means his opportunity to be an everyday player comes later on in his career or whether he is asked to be in more of a support role," Dipoto said. "This (signing) is about Chris Iannetta and what he brings. We feel confident with Chris as our everyday catcher. Hank—and everyone else—will be given an opportunity to compete for a role."

The 6-foot-1, 220-pound Conger's development (and value) has been hindered by frequent injuries throughout his pro career including a strained elbow that sidelined him for a long stretch early in the 2012 season. He's played 79 games at the big league level over the past three seasons, batting .201/.280/.330 with six home runs.

In 67 games at Triple-A Salt Lake this year, Conger hit .295/.347/.473 with 10 home runs and 42 RBIs.

Angel Food

• The Angels have renewed their player-development contract with the Inland Empire 66ers through the 2014 season. The 66ers became the Angels affiliate in the high Class A California League prior to the 2011 season.

• Outfielder Randal Grichuk went on an eight-game hitting streak for Scottsdale in the Arizona Fall League that included hitting a home run on Oct. 13. The 20-year-old hit .298/.335/.488 for Inland Empire in the regular season.