Nieve's family still lives in Houston, where he made his first major-league start in 2006. But he never found a comfort level with the Astros. He shuttled from the starting rotation to the bullpen and back. He shuttled from Houston to Triple-A Round Rock and back.
Back and forth, back and forth. As time passed, he carried these thoughts with him during game time. He worried one mistake might send him packing. So he couldn't focus.
As a result, Nieve says, his pitching suffered.
Last year, his ERA soared to 8.44. During spring training this year, the Astros placed him on waivers.
"I'm more mature now, with age and that stuff," Nieve said. "I think that helped me through it."