Hank Conger Skips Taiwan Trip To Focus On Skills

Los Angeles Angels catcher Hank Conger was invited to take part in a series of exhibition games in Taiwan this November but declined in order to play in the Arizona Fall League, according to the Orange County Register.

For Hank Conger – one of the few Asian-Americans in the major leagues – it would have been a unique opportunity. But Conger has decided his long-range future with the Angels is more important. He will pack up and head to Arizona on Monday and play for the Scottsdale Scorpions in the Arizona Fall League. Games begin there Tuesday.

“The Fall League is absolutely more important for me,” Conger told the Orange County Register. “When the (MLB) Players Association first asked me, no doubt about it, I thought it would be a great experience. But talking to Tony (Reagins, Angels GM) and Sosh (Angels manager Mike Scioscia) about it – especially the way this season has panned out for me, it’s a lot more important that I go to the Fall League and work on my catching every day. The Taiwan thing would have been fun. But the way I understand it, it’s kind of a tournament where you only play a couple games.”

The Arizona Fall League features mostly minor league prospects on six teams; the season lasts about seven weeks. Conger hopes to improve from the lowly .209 batting average he put up this year with the Angels.

“I’m actually pretty excited,” said Conger, according to the O.C. Register. “It’s an opportunity for me to make up for a season that was disappointing for me.”

The Huntington Beach, Calif., native made the Angels opening day roster but was sent down after two months. He eventually played his way back on to the major league roster but didn’t contribute much upon his return.

Conger hopes to improve his defensive skills this fall.

“The hitting thing – I’m confident in my hitting. I know it’ll always be there,” Conger said. “I think any player can tell you that if you’re only playing once every three or four days, it’s tough (to produce offensively). But I didn’t earn the chance to get any more at-bats with my defense.