"I pretty much play twice each week and I was also told to be ready when [starting catcher Carlos Ruiz] needs a rest, so it's a situation I've wanted for a long time," Nieves said. "This manager has a feel for the team and me. He doesn't ask. He explains the situation and tells me he wants me to play. I appreciate that."
Nieves has four hits in 15 at-bats and he has driven in two runs so far this season. He played in 71 games for the D-backs in 2013, in large part because of the back injury to Arizona starting catcher Miguel Montero.
"Miguel wants to play every day. He's a gamer and if I was him, I would do the same," Nieves said. "But Miguel needs rest, maybe one day a week, so he can play the entire season healthy. You play every day and then you add the travel and the stress of a season and it affects you. I watched him do it and I want him to be strong all year."
Nieves signed a one-year deal with the Phillies in December. The D-backs were one of the teams he considered last winter.
"There was some hope that I would come back to Arizona, but baseball is a business and they had to do what was best for them and I had to do what was best for me," Nieves said. "But it's good to be back for the weekend and say hello to my ex-teammates."
Jesse Sanchez is a national reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @JesseSanchezMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.