Rays News

Tampa Bay Rays: Option catcher Hank Conger to Triple-A Durham

By Althea Pashman
Sep 29, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Houston Astros catcher Hank Conger (16) hits a double against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 29, 2015; Seattle, WA, USA; Houston Astros catcher Hank Conger (16) hits a double against the Seattle Mariners during the fifth inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports /
facebooktwitterreddit

 With his continuing struggles offensively and defensively for the Tampa Bay Rays, catcher Hank Conger was optioned to Triple-A Durham.

The Tampa Bay Rays on Monday (July 11) optioned struggling catcher Hank Conger to their Triple-A affiliate Durham Bulls.

Conger has labored both offensively and defensively batting to a tune of .194 with three home runs and 10 RBIs in 49 games. On the defensive side of things, Conger’s stats are no batter as he’s allowed 35 stolen bases while striking down just eight.

Eyebrows were raised when the Tampa Bay Rays acquired him from the Houston Astros just before the deadline to tender contracts in December, knowing his ineptness with his defensive skills and light bat considering that they already had Rene Rivera and Curt Casali in the position.

In the case of Conger, maybe the Tampa Bay Rays interest in him was because he was a “good guy,” who would be a “good fit” in the clubhouse or the fact that he would come in as a player within the Tampa Bay Rays financial structure (low salary) and one that has shown success in hitting right-handed pitching.

More from Rays News

Over the years the Tampa Bay Rays have been generous to catchers with below the norm offensive statistics.

Case in point was Jose Molina who was not around for his offense, but for the number fact of his ability to “pitch frame” and get what is called a “stolen strike,” along with calling a decent game.

Like everything else in life, Conger hasn’t been as fortunate and doesn’t seem to get those calls.

Despite making numerous attempts in improving his defense with Tampa Bay Rays catching coordinator Jamie Nelson, Conger has been very slow in showing a difference behind the dish.

It wasn’t until May 1 against the Toronto Blue Jays that Conger finally caught a base runner (Ezequiel Carrera) for the Rays, thus snapping a streak of 48 successful steals.

Assumption is that the Tampa Bay Rays will stay within the organization and call up either J.P. Arencibia or Luke Maile from their Triple-A affiliate Durham Bulls. The Rays however will need to make a corresponding move if they select Arencibia as he is not on the 40-man roster.

Arencibia is no stranger to the Tampa Bay Rays and based off of what he did last season after his call up from Durham could be just what the team needs.

More from Rays Colored Glasses

Following what would become a season-ending injury last August to Casali (strained hamstring), Arencibia would go on to bat .310 with six home runs and 17 RBIs in 24 games while sharing duties with Rene Rivera.

Unfortunately, Arencibia was DFA’d by the Tampa Bay Rays to clear space on their 40-man roster to add prospects. He was signed to a minor league deal during the off-season by the Philadelphia Phillies and was given his release in May. The Rays would then sign him to a minor league deal a few later.

Next: Kiermaier set to return against Baltimore

Luke Maile was called up in September when MLB rosters expanded and would make his debut against the Orioles on Sept. 1 as a pinch-hitter. He would hit .171 (6-for-35) in 15 games. Currently Maile is batting .242 (47-for-194) with 2 home runs and 12 RBIs in 58 games for Durham.

facebooktwitterreddit