Woke up this morning to some fun news, as ESPN’s Jeff Passan tweeted that the Mariners are calling up 30-year-old Rainiers reliever Vinny Nittoli for his first trip to the major leagues.
Nittoli is a great call-up story. Drafted by the Mariners in 2014 as a 25th rounder out of Xavier University in Cincinnati, Nittoli pitched a couple seasons in the low minor leagues before getting released during spring training in 2017.
He then kicked around on the fringes of professional baseball for two years, pitching two seasons in independent leagues and spending a winter in Mexico.
Arizona signed him in 2019 and he had a brief, ill-fated stint in Reno before getting released in May. Toronto picked him up and he pitched for their Double-A club in New Hampshire for the rest of the season.
Nittoli sat out the 2020 season like all the other minor leaguers. This past winter the phone rang and surprise, surprise: it was his original organization the Mariners calling to see if the wanted to sign a minor league deal – and they even offered an invitation to major league spring training camp.
He broke camp with Tacoma and has appeared in 11 games, including four starts on bullpen days the team has been having. Nittoli is 1-0 with a 3.50 ERA in 18 innings pitched, with 26 strikeouts and just four unintentional walks.
Perseverance paid off for Nittoli. It’s got to be a great moment for his family – Vinny’s father Mike played three years of minor league ball without reaching the majors. Hopefully he gets in a game soon and has some success in Seattle.
YESTERDAY: Tacoma hit four home runs and outlasted Las Vegas, 11-7, for the team’s fifth straight win. Dillon Thomas, Jantzen Witte, Cal Raleigh, and Jarred Kelenic each homered for the Rainiers, who had great relief down the stretch from Taylor Guerreri, Keynan Middleton, and Justin Grimm. It’s Tacoma’s second 5-game win streak of the season and the team looks to reach six in a row for the first time this season tonight.
TODAY: Tacoma (20-15) at Las Vegas (18-19), 7:05 PT.
OPPONENT AFFILIATION: Oakland A’s.
OPPOSING MANAGER: Fran Riordan.
SEASON SERIES: Tacoma leads, 1-0.
PITCHERS: RHP Darren McCaughan (2-2, 5.33) at RHP Grant Holmes (0-1, 11.14)
It’s McCaughan’s turn to take the Las Vegas Ballpark test and try to survive in this launching pad. Ian McKinney lasted just 2.2 innings in his Triple-A debut last night, so the club would like to get five or six innings from McCaughan tonight.
ROSTER MOVES: The Mariners added veteran infielder Alen Hanson on a minor league contract and assigned him to Tacoma, although I’m not sure if he’ll be here today. Hanson has played in the majors for parts of four years, most recently in 2019 with Toronto. He was with the Mariners in the spring of 2020 and we expected him to be on the Rainiers opening day roster before the season was scrapped. As of blog posting time the Vinny Nittoli transaction had not been officially announced.
HOT HITTERS: Cal Raleigh has a 23-game hitting streak, going 38-for-96 during the streak… it’s Tacoma’s longest hitting streak since Chad Akers tied the franchise record of 26 in 1999… Raleigh has reached base safely in 27 straight games… Eric Filia has reached base in nine straight games.
OPPONENT NEWS: Las Vegas has allowed 63 runs to score during a four-game losing streak… Frank Schwindel was on a tear at the plate last week, homering in five straight games and winning the league’s Player of the Week award. He has belted seven homers in his last nine games… Jacob Wilson has a five-game hitting streak with four homers and 11 RBI during it… outfielder Nate Mondou is from Tacoma and went to Charles Wright Academy… coaches Rick Rodriguez and Tommy Everidge both played for Tacoma, although Everidge is more remembered as a rival during his long time with Sacramento.
BROADCAST: All games will be broadcast free on a live audio stream which is available right here.
Unfortunately, there is no traditional terrestrial radio station carrying the games at this time.
TRIPLE-A WEST SCOREBOARD: Follow all league games in real-time with links to Gameday screens right here.
STORIES YOU MIGHT LIKE:
- The Mariners walked off the Rays last night, 6-5. Shed Long and Kyle Seager had big hits in the ninth.
- Larry Stone writes that the Mariners rebuilding process has reached a level of uncertainty.
- Out for the season with an injury, James Paxton has been preparing to become a father.
- Speaking of fatherhood, Rainiers manager Kristopher Negron tweeted that his newborn twin boys are out of the hospital and at home. Look for Negron to return to the Rainiers soon.
Listen to every home and away Tacoma Rainiers game for free HERE. You can also download the MiLB First Pitch app for a free and easy one-click listening experience at home, work or in your car. Watch an HD video broadcast of every game with an MiLB.TV subscription. Use code: RAINIERS to save $10 on an annual subscription.
About the Tacoma Rainiers
The Tacoma Rainiers are the Triple-A affiliate of the Seattle Mariners. The Rainiers are a member of the Triple-A West. Tacoma has been a Mariners affiliate since establishing the Rainiers moniker in 1995.
The most up-to-date news and notes about the Tacoma Rainiers and Cheney Stadium can be found at WeRTacoma.com, or by following the Rainiers on Twitter (@RainiersLand), Instagram (@tacomarainiers) and liking the team on Facebook.
We R Tacoma Team Store
The We R Tacoma Team Store is currently open Monday-Friday from 12 p.m. to 5 p.m. (non-game days) or until the end of the game on home game days. Team Store purchases can also be made online 24/7. Grab your Rainiers gear, your Defiance ‘fit, and follow the team store on Instagram and Twitter.