The White Sox coaching staff is pleased with Adrian Nieto after he subbed in for starter Tyler Flowers in Monday’s win over the Cleveland Indians.
The rookie catcher took over in the fifth inning after Flowers was ejected for the first time in his career and guided the White Sox to a victory.
What was significant about the event was that it was the first time Nieto caught a starting pitcher other than John Danks, as he worked with Jose Quintana for the final two innings of his outing. Though they had only worked together in the bullpen, Nieto said he and Quintana found enough of a rhythm to get the left-hander through the sixth inning.
“After the first inning I caught him, we came in and he said, ‘Hey, I’m going with you. Whatever you call, I’ll go with you,’ ” Nieto said. “I said ‘All right. I got a pretty good idea about these guys and I’m pretty sure on the scouting report.’ So that’s what we did.”
Pitching coach Don Cooper said Nieto, a Rule 5 draftee who had never played above Single-A before this season, has done a good job retaining information on hitters and scouting reports as the season has worn on. Nieto said Monday’s job was made easier because this is the third series between the White Sox and Indians, which means he’s more familiar.
“He really hasn’t caught many other guys and he did a real good job,” Cooper said. “He only should get better and better at that because he’s catching all of the guys, but he’s not catching them in the game. He’s limited. But he’s remembering more and more of the information and the more he’s back there the more he should be able to remember for the future.”
Nieto tries to stay in the dugout for the first four innings to get a feel for hitters and pick up the rhythm of the game. Then he normally heads to the bullpen. But Flowers got ejected in the bottom of the fourth inning and because he was the last out, Nieto and Quintana had little time to confer. Nieto said he trusted his instincts and stuck with Cooper’s scouting report.
Manager Robin Ventura said Nieto handled the transition well.
“It’s a nice step forward for him to take over where Flow was out,” Ventura said. “It’s good to see.”