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Angels behind the plate need to do more at the plate

July 22, 2011 |  1:47 pm

Angels catchers Jeff Mathis, Hank Conger and Bobby Wilson have combined to hit .207 (70 for 338) entering Friday's game against the Baltimore Orioles, which ranks 27th out of 30 major league teams at the position.

They have a .322 slugging percentage (27th), seven home runs (22nd) and 30 runs batted in (24th), and this past Tuesday, they lost the most potent hitter of the trio when Conger, who was struggling defensively and offensively, was demoted to triple-A.

No one expects Mathis to turn into the second coming of Mike Piazza -- he has a .197 career average in five seasons and has become a whipping boy for Angels fans who constantly call him the worst-hitting player in the big leagues.

And Wilson has only 145 big-league at-bats and played sparingly as the team's third catcher for most of the season, so he won't be expected to carry the offense on the nights he starts.

But as much as Manager Mike Scioscia stresses defense over offense at the position, he acknowledged that the Angels do need more production behind the plate.

"we're waiting for someone back there to give us a lift offensively, that's important to our team," Scioscia said. “We don't need them to hit .290, but we can't absorb .190.

"These guys are still going to contribute more on the defensive end than they will with the bats, but we need some more offense from that position.”


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Photo: Angels catcher Jeff Mathis looks to tag out a runner during a game against the Kansas City Royals on May 31. Credit: Jamie Squire / Getty Images