Perseverance: For Mariners’ Vinny Nittoli, his ascent to the majors took an unlikely road

It would have been easy for Vinny Nittolito simply quit and get on with his life.

He had already pitched everywhere from Bakersfield, California, to St. Paul, Minnesota, to Mexicali, Mexico, bouncing from organization to organization, and unable to stick.

Now, at the age of 30, returning to the organization that first drafted him seven years ago almost to the day, Nittoli is finally a major-league pitcher.

Nittoli will suit up Friday night for his first major-league game with the Seattle Mariners, who had drafted him in the 25th round in 2014, only to release him three years later.

The journey has been surreal for the former Xavier University (Cincinnati, Ohio) pitcher.

Vinny Nittoli, 30, has been called up to the majors by the Mariners. (Photo: Stephen Smith, AP)

Let’s see, he spent three years pitching in the lower levels of the Mariners’ organization before being released in 2017.

Two years in 2017 and 2018 with the St. Paul Saints of the Independent League.

A winter with Aguilas de Mexicali in the Mexican Winter League.

One month with the Arizona Diamondbacks’ Triple-A Reno club in 2019.

Four months with the Toronto Blue Jays’ Class AA New Hampshire club in 2019.

Nowhere in 2020 with no minor-league season.

One month at Triple A Tacoma this year.

And now, after going 1-0 with a 3.50 ERA in 11 appearances in Tacoma, yielding 14 hits and striking out 26 in 18 innings, he’s about to spend his first day in the big leagues.

Welcome to the show.

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