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Wingnuts Veteran Infielder Nieves Returns to Wingnuts

January 22, 2018 - American Association (AA) - Wichita Wingnuts News Release

WICHITA, Kans. - The Wichita Wingnuts added an experienced bat to their rebuilt infield on Monday, signing veteran Abel Nieves for the 2018 season.

Nieves spent parts of two seasons in Wichita, putting up eye-popping numbers in both 2013 and 2014. As the Wingnuts everyday third baseman during the 2013 campaign, Nieves pounded opposing pitchers to the tune of a .357 batting average that earned him the American Association batting title. The right-handed hitter offered more than just a high batting average, contributing 23 doubles, five homers, and 51 RBI, in addition to stealing 17 bases.

The Wingnuts traded Nieves to the Grand Prairie AirHogs the following season, but re-acquired him for the 2014 stretch run when regular second baseman Jake Kahaulelio went down with a season-ending injury. Over the course of 13 games, Nieves put together arguably the best two-week stretch in franchise history, hitting .558 with 24 hits in 43 at-bats. On the bright stage of the postseason, Nieves continued to swing a remarkably hot bat, hitting .423 and guiding the Wingnuts to the American Association title. His .378 combined average is still the best career mark in Wingnuts history.

Nieves was traded twice that offseason, first to the Atlantic League's Bridgeport Bluefish and then to Laredo, where he would spend the next two seasons playing for the Lemurs. A versatile defender, Nieves saw time at all four infield spots while still piling up impressive offensive numbers. In 2015, the native Venezuelan hit .353, then followed it up with a .290 season the following year. For his career, Nieves owns more than 1,000 professional hits and a .295 average.

A 50th round draft pick of the Anaheim Angels out of Middle Georgia College in 2004, Nieves shot through the Angels minor league system, reaching Triple-A Salt Lake as a 20-year old. After six seasons in the Anaheim organization, Nieves got his first taste of Independent baseball in 2012, signing with the Frontier League's Joliet Slammers. The veteran infielder hit .320 in 89 games for the Slammers before being picked up by the Wingnuts in December of that year.

The 11th season of Wingnuts baseball and the club's pursuit of an eighth consecutive division title kicks off with a three-game home series against the Kansas City T-Bones, beginning on Friday, May 18.

For information on season tickets, group outings, and party packages, call the Wingnuts main office at (316) 264-NUTS, or visit the Wingnuts official website at .

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