Conger leads Tempe to season-opening win
Conger knocks two extra-base hits in debut
Conger knocks two extra-base hits in debut

Posted Jun 22, 2006

Playing on deserted fields under the Arizona mid-morning sun is a long way from the big leagues, but it's how the professional careers of many of the prospects recently drafted or signed by the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim began began Thursday, when the AZL Angels defeated the Cubs' rookie-level affiliate 6-5.

While one game played at 10:30 in the morning is no basis for evaluating a draft, the Angels got immediate results from first round pick Hank Conger, eighth-rounder Matt Sweeney, and a pair of players making their U.S. debuts.

The Angels got on the board in the top of the first when, with two outs, Sweeney singled, Conger tripled to left field and then scored on a single by 20-year-old Australian Matt Ryan, who is beginning his second season in the Arizona Summer League.

After he was spotted to that lead, starter Alex Torres, a lefty from Venezuela who posted a 1.52 ERA in the Dominican League last year, gave up just one run in five innings of work. The 18-year-old allowed four singles and a pair of walks while striking out two.

The Cubs got to reliever Ysmael Carmona for four - two earned - in the sixth inning when he walked three and hit one batter.

The Angels came back for a pair in the eighth when Sweeney and Conger again got things rolling with a walk and single to open the inning. Angel Castillo then loaded the bases with a single before a fielders choice, single and a walk by Seth Loman drove across two runs.

In the ninth, shortstop Carlos Colmenares led off with a walk before Sweeney collected his second single of the game and Conger came through with a double. Sweeney scored the winning run on another Ryan single.

Overall, Sweeney was 2-for-three with a pair of walks and three runs scored, while Conger fell a home run shy of the cycle in his 3-for-5 debut. Castillo, who turned 18 just two weeks ago, also finished 3-for-5 in his professional baseball debut. The Venezuelan teenager was signed by Amador Arias last August.

The Angels will play their first game in Tempe Friday and continue their 56 game schedule through August. Games are played at 10:30 a.m. until late July, when all game times push back to 7:00 p.m. will provide continuing coverage from the Arizona League and all the Angels affiliates throughout the year.

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OF Angel Castillo (profile)
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3B Matt Sweeney (profile)
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