Iannetta has successful surgery; Hester up
Angels catcher out six to eight weeks after right wrist procedure
ARLINGTON -- Chris Iannetta had right wrist surgery in Los Angeles on Friday, a procedure that took 40 minutes, removed the pisiform bone -- one of the smallest in the area -- and reportedly went well.
Or, as well as it can, considering the Angels will now be without their starting catcher for the next six to eight weeks.
"It could've been worse," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "It's a big loss, but we're going to get him back for the lion's share of the season, and it's an important guy, that's for sure. So we're going to have to get it done in a different fashion with some guys behind the plate. But we're confident that we're going to at least support our pitching for what they need back there on the defensive end and see how it goes."
A source said the Angels won't look outside the organization for catching help, preferring to stay in-house until Iannetta can work his way back. At least for now.
To take Iannetta's place on the roster, the Angels called up the 6-foot-4 John Hester, who was originally signed to a Minor League contract and labeled "a really good defensive catcher with some power" by Scioscia. The 28-year-old right-handed hitter played in 53 Major League games with the Diamondbacks from 2009-10 -- putting up a .220/.294/.366 slash line -- and spent 2011 with the Triple-A affiliates of the D-backs and Orioles, batting .252 with six homers and 30 RBIs in 92 games.
But it's Bobby Wilson, formerly Iannetta's backup, who will now get the majority of the playing time behind the plate.
"You don't want to have this situation pop up, with somebody else getting hurt, but at the same time, you have to take full advantage of it," said Wilson, who's 6-for-27 while starting 10 games this season.
"This is what you prepare for -- to catch every day. I don't think anybody prepares in the offseason to sit on the bench six days a week."
Iannetta originally suffered the injury after getting drilled by a fastball from Twins righty Liam Hendriks in the second inning on May 2, but he stayed in the game and finished catching Jered Weaver's no-hitter.
"That shows you how tough he is," center fielder Peter Bourjos said.
The 29-year-old Iannetta didn't start the next three games, but he played in three in a row before getting the day off in the series finale against the Twins on Wednesday. On Thursday, he flew back to Anaheim to get an MRI, which revealed he needed to go under the knife.
Said Scioscia: "It became pretty obvious in the last couple days that it was going the wrong way."
"I saw him yesterday, after he came back from the MRI, and he was obviously pretty shaken about it," Wilson added. " ... He knows that we all obviously care about him and wish him well and hope he has a speedy recovery coming back, because he's one of those guys that we're going to need in the long run."
Catching prospect Hank Conger, currently with Triple-A Salt Lake, wasn't called up because he's been on the Minor League disabled list since April 21, rehabbing from a right elbow injury. Conger is in the early stages of a throwing program and isn't expected to return to the field for another couple of weeks.
"But the elbow's feeling a lot better," Conger said in a text message.
Alden Gonzalez is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his columns and his blog, Gonzo and "The Show", and follow him on Twitter @Alden_Gonzalez. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.