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Scioscia remains upbeat about Iannetta

The SportsXchange

LOS ANGELES -- Chris Iannetta appears to be the Los Angeles Angels' regular catcher again.

Iannetta began the season as the No. 1 backstop, but as he slumped the Angels began giving more time to backup Hank Conger.

Iannetta has started nine of the past 12 games, though, including four games against right-handers. He even started against Yu Darvish, despite a career 2-for-11 line with seven strikeouts against the Texas Rangers star.

"I think Chris' defense is starting to play a lot more," manager Mike Scioscia said. "That's important. At the plate, he's pretty consistent. He's taking his walks and he's starting to feel a little more comfortable in the batter's box. ... Hank is going to play, at some times more than others. Right now, Chris is feeling a little more comfortable."

Although Iannetta has thrown out only 11 of 82 (13 percent) of would-be base-stealers, Scioscia has been clear that much of that blame rests on the pitchers.

Iannetta is hitting .215 with a .356 on-base percentage. Conger, meanwhile, is hitting .240 with a .292 on-base percentage.

Iannetta also had been more successful lately throwing out runners until Tuesday, when the Rangers went 6-for-7 against him. He threw out three in one game, equaling an Angels record, on Aug. 2.

The Rangers ran wild again Wednesday, going 7-for-7 on steal attempts against Conger in Texas' 8-3 win. Conger has thrown out 12 of 42 attempted base thieves (29 percent).

"On the defensive end, we're not doing some of the things we need to do," Scioscia said. "In this series, it was controlling the running game, and those guys had some real good opportunities and made some good situations for themselves."

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