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On Baseball: Prospect Nolin gets taste of major leagues, vows to return
Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Sean Nolin (71) delivers a pitch against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre last month. (Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports)
A highly touted prospect having a strong season with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats, the 23-year-old Toronto Blue Jays lefty pitcher was called up for an emergency start against the Baltimore Orioles on May 24. Making his big league debut, Nolin retired just three of the 11 batters he faced and left the game trailing 6-1 and owning a 40.50 ERA.
"I know what's coming now. Hopefully I can prepare for it better," Nolin said. "It makes me feel comfortable. They know that I can be called up and they wanted me up there for a start and they believe in me. I definitely believe in myself. Every pitch, just keep on going and try to make that next pitch better."
But in the following start, Nolin was back to the form that got him off to a 2-0 start with a 1.17 ERA before the call-up, allowing just three hits and two runs over six innings in a win on Saturday at Erie.
"Part of what he's doing now is realizing what he's going to have to do to succeed (in Toronto) and the type of routine that he's going to have to have. He said his adrenaline was flowing so hard it was like a flash to him, the whole thing because of the atmosphere. (He's) a young kid reaching a lifelong goal," Signore said. "His first outing back wasn't great. After that he seemed to get back to the pitcher he was. Despite not having success there, he has something to draw on, which will help his development in the end."
"He's got all the physical tools, so mentally you've kind of got to leave him alone. He doesn't want anybody in his ear after that kind of outing. He knows he didn't pitch well. You give him a few days to let it all sink in," Signore said. "I expect him to be good the rest of the way, whether it's here, (Triple-A) Buffalo or Toronto. He's got a great delivery, he's got four average major league pitches, he commands the ball well, he controls the running game, he fields his position relatively well and he does all the little detail stuff that you need to do. He's got the complete set of tools."
"They know it was nerves and they know my stuff is good so they told me to just prepare for it for next time," Nolin said. "I had a little talk with Buehrle. He came up to me afterwards and said 'everyone here, it's happened to them. Don't doubt your stuff and just keep working hard and get back up here when you can.'"
WEDNESDAY night's Fisher Cats comeback win over Akron could be the start of something.
Trailing by four runs in the bottom of the ninth and down to its final out, New Hampshire (32-34) posted five runs for a 9-8 win, twice coming back from four runs down. Brad Glenn had the game-winning hit to score A.J. Jimenez. The late blitz also featured an RBI double by Kevin Pillar and a two-run single by Ryan Schimpf, who scored the game-tying run on a throwing error that followed Clint Robinson's infield single.
"A win like that is a moment you can look back on and say maybe that was the turning point in the season. It gives us a huge confidence boost," Pillar said. "Having our backs up against the wall and a team we haven't had any success against all year…having the mentality to just get the next guy up and not trying to do it yourself and relying on the guy behind you is big."