CLEVELAND -- As he sees teams for a second time Adrian Nieto has begun to feel more comfortable in the majors.
The catcher, a Rule 5 draftee who hadn’t played above Single-A before this season, said he hasn’t felt overwhelmed. But he also admits the more he knows the opposition the easier it is for him to play. Nieto had a season-high three hits and drove in the first run of his career on Friday night.
“(Friday) was probably the most I’ve ever felt comfortable and the reason why was I already faced some of those guys,” Nieto said. “It’s such a huge difference when you know what they have as opposed to going up there. You can see film and whatnot, but once you stand in the box it’s a totally different thing. That’s the biggest thing, trying to get accustomed to other teams and the way the pitchers throw. When you play a team for the first time you’re trying to dissect what they do. But (Friday) I was like ‘Go and play.’ When I play a team I’ve seen already I feel a lot more comfortable and just go out and play and let my God-given ability take over.”
Nieto has a .280/.280/.360 slash line in 26 plate appearances this season. He also had made strides on the defensive end and the coaching staff is comfortable with how Nieto handles the pitching staff.
White Sox manager Robin Ventura said he’d feel comfortable giving Nieto more opportunities as the need arises.
“He’s handled it fine,” Ventura said. “It is a big jump and a lot is thrown at him. … He’s doing everything you would want for a guy coming in basically as a backup. Offensively he has progressed a lot since spring training. When you’re up here for this amount of time, his progression has been nice to see. It’s been impressive.
“There will be more spots for him to be in there.”