Updated Jul 23, 2013 - 10:19 pm
D-backs manager Kirk Gibson: Going to try and use Nieves a little more
Nieves, who is batting .351 with 13 RBI, has appeared in only 32 games this season -- the result of playing behind former All-Star Miguel Montero.
Before the D-backs' game against the Chicago Cubs, Gibson acknowledged that while Nieves has performed admirably in a limited role, he understands that the role of a backup catcher is by no means an easy one.
"It's hard, but you enjoy it though," Gibson said. "But [bullpen coach] Glenn Sherlock keeps them ready. They're blocking all of the time. They throw to bases all of the time.
"Miggy and Wil talk constantly on the bench before [Miggy] goes to the bullpen. He watches the games. He's a veteran guy."
A veteran indeed.
Nieves, who beat out Rod Barajas for the backup catcher spot in spring training, has played parts of 10 seasons with six different teams (Brewers, D-backs, Nationals, Padres, Rockies, and Yankees).
Yet, despite well-exceeding his career averages (.239 batting average and nine RBI) this season, getting time on the field has been a struggle to say the least for the 35-year-old journeyman.
It's a trend Gibson hopes to buck from time-to-time in an effort to keep Montero fresh down the stretch.
"[Montero] has been beaten up," said Gibson. "We're going to get Wil in there. He hasn't caught a ton, and I'm going to try and get him in there occasionally, maybe more than I have in this stretch we've gone through."
If Nieves is used on a slightly more consistent basis, it might not be the worst thing for the D-backs' offense. Despite only having 74 at-bats in 2013, Nieves has seven multi-hit games and two four-hit performances.
Dave Dulberg, Web Content Editor - ArizonaSports.com
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