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Wingnuts Wingnuts Ink Nester for First 2018 Signing

January 18, 2018 - American Association (AA) - Wichita Wingnuts News Release

WICHITA, Kans. - One of the best backstops in franchise history will be back behind the plate for the Wichita Wingnuts once again, as the team announced Thursday that catcher John Nester has signed for the 2018 season.

"I've always believed that great teams are built up the middle, and John is one of the best defensive catchers to ever come through this organization," the Wingnuts Josh Robertson said. "With his presence in the clubhouse and ability to lead a pitching staff, we feel John will make a great building block as we put together our 2018 roster."

Nester last played professionally for Wichita in 2015, helping the Wingnuts to a 59-41 record and a South Division title. The Huntington, West Virginia native played in 80 games, hitting .281 with a career-best five home runs, 19 doubles, and 43 RBI. Defensively, the veteran backstop established himself as one of the premier catchers in all Independent baseball, leading the American Association with a 44% (26/59) caught stealing rate. In nearly 500 defensive chances, Nester committed just three errors for a sparkling .994 fielding percentage.

At the conclusion of the 2015 season, Nester was hired by the San Diego Padres as a catching instructor, joining former Wingnuts manager Kevin Hooper on the Padres minor league coaching staff.

"Losing John after the 2015 season hurt, but the organization understood the opportunity that was presented to him," Robertson said. "He is not only a great player, but also an awesome teammate and human being. We're very excited to have him as the quarterback of the team behind the dish for the upcoming season."

Nester started his professional career with three seasons in the Oakland Athletics organization after being drafted in the 39th round out of Clemson University. The 28-year old was released following the 2012 season at Class-A Burlington, and spent the following year with the Evansville Otters of the Frontier League. After an impressive campaign in which he hit .287, Nester was snapped up by the San Diego Padres organization, where he split the 2014 season between three minor league levels.

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 www.wichitawingnuts.com .

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