WICHITA, KS (August 19, 2014) – The Wichita Wingnuts received some terrible news on Monday afternoon when they found out that second baseman Jake Kahaulelio was going to miss the rest of the season with a thumb injury. However, the team was able to fill the void on the right side of the infield with a very familiar face, the American Association’s 2013 batting champion Abel Nieves. The Wingnuts acquired the versatile player from the Grand Prairie AirHogs in exchange for relief pitcher Alex Hinshaw and a player to be named later.
Last season the 28-year old enjoyed the best season of his nine-year career at the plate. Nieves won the American Association's batting title with a .357 average. It marked the fourth batting championship for a Wingnuts' player in the team's six-year history. Nieves added 23 doubles, five home runs, and 51 RBI. The Maracay, Venezuela native walked more times (56) than he struck out (46) and reached base in 89 of 99 games played with a hit, walk, or hit by pitch. Nieves also ranked second among American Association third basemen with a .955 fielding percentage.
Nieves is a career .291 hitter with 360 runs scored, 120 doubles, 27 home runs, 301 RBI, and 371 walks in 724 games played. A right-handed hitter and fielder, Nieves was drafted by the Anaheim Angels in the 50th round out of Middle Georgia College in 2004. Nieves spent six seasons in the Angels' system, reaching Triple-A Salt Lake three times and Double-A Arkansas twice. The 6-foot, 205-pound Nieves' best season with the Angels came in 2008 when he batted .318 with 24 doubles and 54 RBI in 101 games for the High-A California League's Rancho Cucamonga Quakes.
Earlier this season, Nieves was named as the lone all-star representative from the Grand Prairie roster. In 82 games he was batting .326 with a pair of home runs and 35 RBI.
The 31-year old Hinshaw recently took over the closer role in the Wingnuts’ bullpen after Matt Nevarez had his contract purchased by the Pittsburgh Pirates. The former Major League left-hander was 2-1 with a 2.08 ERA in 34 appearances out of the pen. He struck out 43 and walked 19 in a span of 30.1 innings. Hinshaw gave up a run in only four of his outings.
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.