"Hopefully catcher is a permanent position for him but if it doesn't work out that way he is definitely athletic enough to fill other positions," hitting coach Paul Elliot said. "He has done first and third base before this, so hopefully it would just add another string to his bio, so to speak. It makes him more valuable."
As for Conner, he is liking the new position so far and feels as though versatility is good for him right now. Trying new things and getting different perspectives on the game will give him more opportunity in the future.
"It has been a bit of a struggle for him at times but he's past his [seventh] week of it now so he is starting to show improvement and his arm strength is getting better," Elliot said. "He is blocking the ball and his receiving is getting a lot better. His game calling still needs a little work but that is to be expected, it being his first time back there."
Conner spent the beginning of the offseason working out and training four days a week. When December hit he started hitting and amped up his workouts as well. He felt mentally and physically prepared heading into Spring Training.
"Mentally I think it was easier to come back this year," Conner said. "Once you play your first full year you came back knowing what to expect and you learn what it's like to play baseball every single day.
"I knew the flow better coming into Spring Training. Physically, I am just twenty so I am still working on getting stronger and getting that man-strength."
Conner was working on his catching a lot during Spring and Extended Spring Training. He really worked on becoming more efficient in the position and figuring out what works for him. He is really focusing on it and becoming more and more comfortable with it. He continues to work on his hitting and his mechanical skills as well.
"He was working on offense and [he is] turning into quite a good hitter," Elliot said. "He's getting into the philosophy of hitting and that mechanical way that we go about it. He has picked it up pretty good.
"He [was] hitting roughly around .295 down here this Spring. He keeps working on mechanical things and doing the drills that we have asked him to do."
The versatile player is feeling good going into short-season leagues and is excited to see where he is going to be placed. He is focusing on improving and becoming better everyday so that his game never becomes stagnant.
"I'm getting more comfortable out there," Conner said. "I get more respect and this game is so mental, so when you say I can do this and you go out there and play hard than it's a lot easier to do.
"I'm still trying to work on all aspects of my game, from base running to throwing to hitting. I am really excited to get into the season and get to playing where my numbers and everything count."
It is not for sure yet whether Conner will remain as a catcher long-term, but for now he is doing well and always has backup positions if this does not work out for him.
"We don't know where he is going to play this season," Elliot said. "He may start down here and then move to Bluefield. It depends on the moves that are made up top. More importantly he's got to find a place to play somewhere on a regular basis if he's going to be a catcher."
DUNEDIN, FL - The Toronto Blue Jays selected Seth Conner in the 41st round of the 2010 Draft. Since then most of his playing time has been at first and third base, but has recently been moved behind the plate. It is not yet known if he will remain permanently at catcher, but for now the twenty-year old from Missouri is trying out different things to expand his versatility in the field.
Conner Expanding His Versatility
Seth Conner has played first and third base in his career so far and now he's working at catcher.
Dunedin Beat Writer
Conner adding catcher to his defensive repertoire
Jun 17, 2012