Danks-Nieto battery is clicking for White Sox
CHICAGO --- John Danks tossed six innings of one-run ball Wednesday with backup catcher Adrian Nieto behind the plate. Nieto has caught all three of Danks' starts, and the pairing has provided positive returns so far, as all three of Danks' starts have been quality starts.
The pairing began with Danks' first start of Spring Training, and it is unlikely to change until further notice -- not that Nieto knows why he and Danks have worked together so well.
"No idea," Nieto said. "I guess something just happens, you know. I came up to him one time after the first time I caught him and I asked him, 'Is there anything you're looking for me to do for you catching-wise or stance-wise?' And he's just like, 'Nah, man, everything you do back there. You move well, give a good target and stuff like that.' So I guess it's just something that clicked from day one."
White Sox manager Robin Ventura has given rave reviews of Nieto's defensive abilities, but he has stressed how difficult the adjustment to Major League pitching will be for Nieto, who hadn't played above Class A prior to 2014.
"Yeah, I agree with Robin, man," Nieto said. "I was telling [Dayan] Viciedo on the bench last night, I was like, 'The ball moves up here so much more than it does in A ball.' And guys can throw both pitches to both sides of the plate. You don't see that in A ball. If you see a guy who throws a curveball in A ball, he ain't going to be there long because guys really can't even hit that at that level."
Nieto picked up his first Major League hit in belated fashion -- a ball he hit down the left-field line April 5 against the Royals was originally called an error but later overturned to a double by MLB executive vice president Joe Torre -- resulting in much ribbing from his teammates. He went 1-for-9 in his next three games before picking up a pair of hits Wednesday night.
"Yeah man, it felt good to get two knocks in there, and just got to continue to progress up there at the plate, and just keep doing what I'm doing behind the plate," Nieto said. "Just keep working my tail off with [hitting coach Todd Steverson] before BP, after BP and just keep doing extra work, stuff like that.
"But the hitting will come. It's a big jump, it is. That will come with time and more reps, stuff like that, so I'm not hitting the panic right away. I'm just trying to get good [at-bats], quality [at-bats] up there and just give the team a chance to win and help the team win."