‘Your heart hurts a different way’: Oceans away from his family, Justin Nicolino starts anew in Taiwan

On an ordinary November afternoon in 2012, Justin Nicolino was shopping inside a Nordstrom Rack in Tampa, Florida. Then a month away from turning 21, he was picking out clothes for a trip to Las Vegas he was planning with his friends Kellen Sweeney, Mike Aviles, and Nick Punto. He was one of the top prospects in the Toronto Blue Jays organization, having been drafted in the second round of the 2010 draft, and was living in Palm Harbor with fellow up-and-coming hurler Aaron Sanchez.
While browsing, he received a call from a Canadian number. Unsure of its origin, he let it go to voicemail. There’s no way he was being cut, he thought to himself. After all, he just finished a stellar season with the Low-A Lansing Lugnuts in which he pitched to an ERA of 2.46 and was named to the Midwest League Postseason All-Star Team. What could it be?
Minutes later, he checked his messages. It was Andrew Tinnish, the Blue Jays’ assistant general manager. Nicolino had been traded to the Miami Marlins in a deal that he was told included some big names. Tinnish told him that his inclusion in the deal was the only way to …

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Author: Hayden Godfrey / Blue Jays Nation

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