Nieto learns about uncertainty of Rule 5 Draft
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- For the past month, Adrian Nieto has worked long hours in an attempt to break camp as one of the two White Sox catchers.
But by the start of April, Nieto could be part of the Washington Nationals organization once again. Such is the life of a Rule 5 Draft selection.
"That would be weird, going back to the Nationals after being here for six weeks and getting accustomed to these guys over the time," said Nieto, before finishing 2-for-2 with a walk and two RBIs while throwing out a would-be basestealer in a 14-8 loss to the Rangers Sunday. "If that does happen, it won't be that big of a change. I've been over there for six years.
"I do think about the scenarios and what can happen but not too much. I try to come out there and focus on doing my job and working hard and giving everything I got."
Nieto, 24, has impressed the organization with both his catching and preparation. His offense also has come along over the course of Spring Training. There's still the issue, though, of Nieto being ready to make the jump from the Carolina League in 2013 to staying on a big league roster for the entirety of 2014.
If the White Sox decide not to keep Nieto, he'll be put through waivers first. Assuming every other team passes on putting him in the Majors, the White Sox would have to offer Nieto back to Washington as a non-roster player for $25,000, and if they say no, then the White Sox can outright him to the Minors.
This experience is being looked at as a positive by Nieto, regardless of the result. He has learned about handling a pitching staff and has seen up close the difference in Major League pitching vs. the Minors. His goal is to leave no opportunity behind.
"Not many guys are given this opportunity. I see it like that," Nieto said. "I'm trying to make the most of it. At the end of the day, I can say I gave it my best, 100 percent, and didn't leave anything out there."
A decision on the backup won't be made until the end of camp per White Sox manager Robin Ventura. But he reiterated Sunday that Tyler Flowers looks to be the team's starter.
"He's done well," said Ventura of Flowers. "He's picking up offensively to where he has a solid plan when he goes up there."