It isn't a long way from Minneapolis-St. Paul to Milwaukee - just 480 kilometres, to be precise.
Port Coquitlam's Rene Tosoni is hoping he can own every mile of it.
The one-time Minnesota Twins prospect experienced the hard facts of professional sports two months ago when the Twins decided not to offer him a new contract.
The 26-year-old outfielder and his agent didn't have to look long, however, before finding someone who did.
Tosoni signed with the National League's Milwaukee Brewers earlier this month, with an eye on proving that he's more than just organizational depth.
"I'm excited to get this deal, to sign with Milwaukee and get things going," Tosoni told The NOW. "They said I'm a good fit for their organization and they liked what I've done."
Tosoni, who last week was named to Team Canada's roster for the World Baseball Classic, has overcome his shares of bad luck and tough bounces during the past 12 months.
The Twins released him after a couple of injuries kept him on the sidelines for more than half the season. The outfielder first fractured two fingers in just the third game of the season, and suffered a torn pectoral muscle a few weeks after returning from the first injury.
"(The broken fingers) were more [just] aggravating," said Tosoni, who spent six years in Minnesota's farm system. "They felt jammed at the time, and it took a month and a half to get back. My pectoral injury was tough. I thought I just aggravated it and tried to play through it but we later found out it was a tear."
He couldn't establish a good hitting rhythm after coming back, and in the end he played at four different levels - beginning at Triple-A, all the way down to a rookie league rehab assignment.
It was a true test of character, and one he survived with the support of family and friends. Wife Whitney, a fellow Terry Fox Secondary grad, was there to keep him grounded and balanced.
"I had Whitney with me and she was incredible," he noted. "She travelled with me and was with me along the way. I talked with people who had gone through these same kinds of things. There's always people around who want to help."
Overall, he batted just .224 over 90 games, with four home runs and 23 runs batted in. But over his final 10 games with Double-A New Britain and having put the injuries behind him, Tosoni batted .297 with hits in nine of the 10 contests.
Those kinds of numbers were more in line with what he had achieved in healthier seasons prior to his major league call-up - where he began a 60game MLB stint with a seeing-eye single. That 2011 turn in Minnesota also saw him hit five home runs and drive in 22 runs. Although his .203 batting average was less than flattering, he did close out the season with a nine-game hitting streak, including two dingers.
It made the injuries and minor league struggles all the more frustrating for the 2009 All Star Future Game MVP.
Still, when he was told that the Twins were going in another direction and no longer required his services, the former Coquitlam Reds felt some new pressure.
"I was a little (anxious), it was something new for me," he noted. "My agent was telling me not to worry, that he'd gone through this before with other players.
"You're just sitting and waiting for a job. It's part of the business, but it makes you grateful for every opportunity."
Enter Milwaukee, which has a track record when it comes to Canadian
General manager Doug Melvin, assistant GM Gord Ash and closer John Axford are all Ontario natives. Tosoni himself was born in Toronto and played for the junior national team. While the Brewers don't make decisions based on nationalities, it is a nice coincidence.
Getting to represent Canada at the WBC this spring will be a nice feather in his cap, Tosoni said.
"It's a huge honour and a great feeling to be able to wear Canada across my chest again. There is just something about playing for your country that is indescribable."
As Spring Training approaches, Tosoni continues to prepare for a competition to impress Brewers coaches. It's the strategy the 36th round draft choice has taken into every training camp.
"Going to a new team, a new manager, you are trying to prove yourself again.
They've seen me play, but you have to show what you can do," the left-handed batter said. "I need to just work hard, show them I'm healthy and can play."
While Minnesota is in the rearview mirror and just another potential opposing team, the PoCo product says his time in the Twin Cities was special.
"That was an incredible moment, an amazing time," he recalled of his debut at Target Field on Apr. 28, 2011. "The Twins gave me an opportunity and you're always going to be respectful of that."