Auburn catcher Nieto off to hot start

Something has clicked for short season Single-A Auburn Doubledays catcher Adrian Nieto in the first week of the 2011 new season.

The 21-year old Cuban backstop struggled last season for Single-A Hagerstown Suns, batting .195 with 44 strikeouts in 60 games. But Nieto came out of the blocks swinging a hot bat this campaign, grabbing attention in the Doubledays’ first game last Friday. Nieto went 3-for-3 with a home run and two RBIs.

He went 0-for-2 in his second game but has gone 5-for-12 the last three games.

Nieto is batting 8-for-17 (.471) with one double, two homers and nine RBIs in his initial five games this season.

Assistant general manager and vice president of player development Bob Boone was in attendance Friday to see Nieto’s Auburn debut.

“That was the best I have ever seen him swing the bat,” Boone said. “I joked with him, ‘What, did you spend your entire vacation in the batting cages?’ ”

This is great news for Nieto following his struggles of last season. It is only five games, but it is a nice start.

I will talk with Auburn manager Gary Cathcart in the coming days to see how the team has fared in the first seven games and get a further update on Nieto and other prospects.

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