ANAHEIM -- This has not been the season Hank Conger, the Angels' premier catching prospect since 2007, envisioned. But it could have been a lot worse.
Early in the season, catching for Triple-A Salt Lake, Conger made a throw on a cold April night in Reno and felt a sensation in his right arm that registered an immediate alarm in his head.
"I thought I was going to have Tommy John," Conger said of the elbow reconstruction surgery. "The pain shot down my arm from the elbow. They shut me down. I went to Arizona and rehabbed for about five weeks. It didn't start getting better until the final week there.
"I got an MRI and it showed that it was a nerve problem. I started playing again and really worked on my throwing. This was the best I've ever felt as far as throwing the ball. It wasn't ideal, by any means, but I was pretty happy with my season. I think I made a lot of progress defensively. It's not a finished product, but I think I'm a lot better."
A switch-hitter with power from both sides, Conger hit .295 in 67 games at Salt Lake, producing 17 doubles, 10 homers and 41 RBIs.
"I had a really good spring and battled to get that feeling back the whole season," Conger said. "I'm looking forward to next spring."
Conger is hitting .231 in five games for the Angels this season. For his career, in pieces of three seasons, he has a .205/.286/.333 slash line with six homers and 25 RBIs in 219 at-bats.