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Tigers trade Nieves to Reds for Wall, minor-league catcher

November 12, 1997

DETROIT (AP) _ The Detroit Tigers traded powerful but strikeout-prone outfielder Melvin Nieves to the Cincinnati Reds for pitcher Donne Wall and minor league catcher Paul Bako.

Nieves, 25, a switch-hitter, has played for Atlanta, San Diego and Detroit, compiling a .229 career average. He batted .228 with 20 homers and in 359 at-bats last season for the Tigers, but struck out 157 times.

Nieves hit 24 home runs in 1996 and struck out 158 times.

``He still has tremendous raw potential, but it wasn’t happening for him consistently,″ Detroit general manager Randy Smith told The Detroit News following Tuesday’s trade.

``We’re hoping to close some holes and develop him,″ Cincinnati general manager Jim Bowden told the Detroit Free Press.

Wall, 30, was claimed off the waiver wire last month by the Reds. He was 2-5 with a 6.26 ERA last season with the Houston Astros. He finished the season with the Astros’ Triple A affiliate in New Orleans, posting an 8-7 record with a 3.85 ERA.

In 1996, Wall was 9-8 with a 4.56 ERA. The nine victories were the most by a Houston rookie in 10 years.

Bako, 25, was the Reds’ fifth selection in the 1993 draft. He was a Class AA All-Star in 1996 but slipped last season at Triple A Indianapolis, hitting .243 with eight home runs and 43 RBIs.

Neither Wall not Bako will be among the 15 players protected by the Tigers prior to next week’s expansion draft, the News said.

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