Vidal Nuno took the long road from Baker University to Yankee Stadium, but he made it to the majors last week.
A lefty, Nuno threw three scoreless innings and notched two strikeouts, including the first of his Major League career in the waning innings of a 9-1 home loss to the Astros. Nuno was called up just a few days earlier from Class AAA Scranton/Wilkes-Barre when the Yankees placed Ivan Nova on the 15-day disabled list due to an inflammation in his right triceps.
Nuno became only the second Baker Wildcat to make it to the majors, and the first since Zip Zabel, a right-handed pitcher who won 12 games for the Chicago Cubs from 1913 to 1915.
“It was a long journey,” Nuno told The New York Daily News. “Every day I’m just glad to be around baseball, around my teammates. We have a good time. It’s just another day at work instead of working a 8-to-5 job. I’m having a great time.”
Baker head coach Phil Hannon always thought Nuno would go far.
“You could see Nuno had a different level of talent and ability that allowed him to have great success in the Heart of America Athletic Conference (HAAC),” Hannon said.
Nuno, a native of San Diego, played two years at Baker and was the 2008 HAAC pitcher of the year as a junior. He became Baker’s first player chosen in the Major League Baseball draft when the Cleveland Indians took him with a 48th-round pick in 2009. Nuno pitched for three teams in two seasons, was released in 2010 and then spent six weeks in the Independent Frontier League. A Yankees scout noticed him there, leading to an opportunity to pitch his way through the Yankees system.
That journey culminated with an opportunity to pitch in the majors, and the 25-year-old Nuno hopes it won’t be his last.
“Never give up your dream,” Nuno said. “When you work hard, good things will happen.”
They might even happen at Yankee Stadium.