Needing to clear a roster spot with fifth starter Tyler Chatwood returning from the minors, the Angels sent down rookie catcher Hank Conger prior to Tuesday’s game.
Conger was the better half of the Angels’ catching duo, hitting .214/.297/.357 in 154 at-bats. Jeff Mathis, who gets to stick around, has hit .194/.243/.281 in 160 at-bats.
Mike Scioscia can and probably will argue that the Angels are a superior team when Mathis is catching, and he has the numbers on his side: the Angels are 28-19 with Mathis behind the plate, compared to 21-21 with Conger.
Of course, Scioscia has stacked the deck in a big way there. Mathis has caught Jered Weaver and Dan Haren 29 times, compared to 11 times for Conger. Conger has gotten the rest of the rotation 31 times, compared to 18 times for Mathis.
Also sticking around is seldom-used Bobby Wilson, who has spent the last year and a half wasting away on the Angels bench because he’s out of options and the team doesn’t want to lose him for nothing. Wilson, who hopefully will claim a large share of Conger’s playing time, has just 34 at-bats this season, hitting .235/.308/.324/
The Reds have sent second baseman Scooter Gennett in for an MRI exam after he was forced to make an early departure from Friday’s 6-4 loss to the Brewers. The exact nature of the injury has yet to be reported, but starting pitcher Robert Stephenson said Gennett may have hurt himself after he “rolled weird” while trying to rein in a ground ball. He appeared to be grabbing at his right thigh/groin area immediately afterward and was helped off the field.
Following the incident, the 28-year-old was swiftly replaced by veteran infielder Carlos Rivero, who went hitless as he finished out the game. Though Gennett went 0-for-1 in his lone at-bat on Friday, he’s been tearing through the Cactus League competition this spring with a .351/.405/.486 batting line in 42 plate appearances so far.
The extent of Gennett’s injuries have not been disclosed — and may still be unknown to the team as well — but any significant setback would undoubtedly throw a wrench in the Reds’ plans this season, as he was the presumed starter at the keystone after turning in his first All-Star worthy performance in 2018. Although they have a promising alternative in top infield/outfield prospect Nick Senzel, the 23-year-old has not seen any time at second base this year and was recently reassigned to Triple-A Louisville to start the 2019 season.