Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Hank Conger May Fill Void for Angels; Billingsley Stifles Cubs over Six

 Players of the Day for Tuesday, March 22, 2011

American League

Hank Conger
With Mike Napoli no longer on the roster, the LA Angels need a catcher and the competition between veterans Jeff Mathis and Bobby Wilson and rookie Hank Conger is heating up.

As the Angels were in the process of putting a 14-6 whipping on Kansas City, Conger, the kid with the big upside, socked his first home run of the Spring and added a single and double in four at-bats, driving in three runs and scoring twice.

Hampered by injuries the past few seasons, Conger has been spending his time in the minors, but now appears ready for the big time. In limited action (31 at-bats), he's hitting just .226, but Tuesday's power display indicates better things ahead.

National League

Chad Billingsley
His fifth start of the exhibition season was exactly Chad Billingsley's most scintillating, but he did managed to keep the Cubs off the scoreboard for the first six innings of LA's 2-1, 10-inning win over Chicago.

A regular of the Dodger rotation the past five seasons, Billingsley allowed four hits and walked three in his six-inning stint, but he also managed to fan three batters and work out of situations with runners aboard in a tight contest. His Cubs' counterpart, Ryan Dempster, also went six innings, giving up six hits and striking out the same number, but the Dodgers broke through for a run in the 5th.

Billingsley, a workhorse as a starter, compiled nearly 200 innings each of the past two seasons with the Dodgers, going 12-11 in both 2009 and 2010, but his ERA and WHIP were both improved in his most recent season.

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