Los Angeles Angels rookie catcher Hank Conger has been given the opportunity to start over half the games thus far by Halos’ manager Mike Scioscia. Conger has responded, hitting .273 with three home runs through the first 45 games of the season.

Conger was called up last season when the roster was expanded to 40 players on Sept. 1, and with the Angels out of contention in the American League West, Conger saw action in 13 games, giving the youngster a brief glimpse of life in the majors.

Heading into spring training this season, with the departure of Mike Napoli, Scioscia declared an open audition for the starting catcher’s position.

While Jeff Mathis hit .391 and Bobby Wilson hit .304, Conger hit just .231, but Scioscia saw enough that he wanted Conger with the big club on Opening Day, electing to carry three catchers on the 25-man roster.

When Conger got his chance to start, he not only impressed at the plate, but defensively as well.

During Scioscia’s 11-plus year tenure with the Angels, he has regarded defensive abilities to be paramount among his catchers. Conger has shown an ability to not only handle the pitching staff well, but has added offense at the bottom of the order.

With Mathis hitting just .193 and Wilson essentially relegated to spot duty as the third option behind the plate, Conger is seeing more opportunities.

In an exclusive interview, Bleacher Report talked with Conger about his development in the majors, his maturation process, and his relationship with his fellow catchers.

Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle. Follow Doug on Twitter, @Sports_A_Holic.

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