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Los Angeles Angels understudy catchers different, important

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May 25, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels catcher Jett Bandy (47) fields a throw at home plate during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
May 25, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels catcher Jett Bandy (47) fields a throw at home plate during the game against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
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The Los Angeles Angels have two backup catchers — Geovany Soto and Jett Bandy. One is a veteran, the other a youngster, but they both add unique attributes behind the plate.

The Los Angeles Angels decided when the season started that Carlos Perez was going to be the team’s primary catcher.

Fate decided that Geovany Soto, in his first year with the team, would get injured and force the team to call up Jett Bandy, who had two Major League games to his name prior to this season.

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Soto learned early in the year that he was going to be leaned on to share time with Perez behind the plate, in either a 60-40 or 55-45 situation.

Bandy learned that he would be the Triple-A Salt Lake starter and would probably spend most of his season there.

But fate has a funny way of working with a team that has learned to expect the unexpected this season. So let’s do an analysis of the catching situation.

Soto, now in his 12th Big League season, played in 20 games before tearing his meniscus in mid-May. Prior to the injury, he was hitting .283 with three home runs and seven RBIs, showing that his bat is just as valuable as his leadership.

He was able to successfully split time with Perez by developing a solid working relationship with Hector Santiago, and the two performed as battery mates for a number of games.

But even beyond Santiago, Soto has shown that a valuable asset of his persona is veteran leadership which he brings to a relatively young team that added Yunel Escobar at third base for the same reason.

Back in March, shortly after signing with the team, Soto admitted his experience in the league could be valuable to helping younger players like Perez.

“I think I’ve got a lot to offer,” Soto said to the OC Register. “How to call a game, how to carry yourself as a veteran guy. I think I’ve got that. As you get older, you see stuff. You can help guys with your information and input.”

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While Soto has shown he is a teacher of the game, the Angels other backup catcher is more a student of the game.

Bandy is 26 years old but has just five Big League games under his belt, so he is a relative baby in terms of Major League age.

The former University of Arizona star has spent most of his career working his way through the Angels farm system, and this year he got the call to spend some time with the Halos following Soto’s injury.

In three games this year, Bandy is 3-for-10 with three RBIs, a walk, a strikeout and an error behind the plate. Those numbers include an 0-for-4 night in his season debut.

While that’s a small sample size to what he can really contribute, manager Mike Scioscia said that he’s trying to get Bandy some more appearances behind the plate to give Perez some relief.

“Jett will get his share of starts,” Scioscia told the OC Register. “We’ll hopefully balance it where we can get Carlos going and have Jett contribute when there’s an opportunity.”

One thing that helps Bandy’s cause is that he knows how to rake.

In 24 games with Triple-A Salt Lake this season, he hit .274/.314/.411 with seven doubles and 21 RBIs, which were the third-most on the team.

One scouting report also noted that he catches the ball well and pitchers enjoy working with him because he is open about his communication with them.

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After Soto returns, which is between 2-4 weeks from Tuesday, Bandy will likely get sent back down to Triple-A. By the time that happens, he should have some more experience under his belt to make him a readily available option for the club barring other injuries.

Fans will also have the chance to see what he brings to the table.

That’s how Perez started, performing an internship with Chris Iannetta for a few years before developing far enough along to gain the trust of Scioscia, a former catcher himself.

When Soto returns, that leadership will be back in the clubhouse and back on the field and that’s invaluable for the team. Until then, the team will have to rely on youth and inexperience behind the plate to carry them.

Next: What a steal?

So far, so good. Fate has a funny way of working things out.

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