Watching Nicholas Purdy pitch, you’d be surprised to hear he’s actually relatively new to the mound.

The 23-year-old right-hander was drafted by the Seattle Mariners in the 50th round in 2007 as an outfielder, then by the Kansas City Royals in the 36th round the following year, this time as a pitcher. He signed as a free agent with the Blue Jays in 2010.

It was while he was playing outfield and third base that the coaches took notice of Purdy’s throwing ability.

“I didn’t really like (pitching) that much growing up,” Purdy said recently from the Bobby Mattick Training Center. “Once the pitching coaches and other coaches saw I had a stronger arm, they put me on the mound and I started liking it a lot.”

The 6-foot-5 Purdy made 19 appearances for the class-A Vancouver Canadians in 2012, posting a 2-3 record along with a 3.96 ERA, striking out 33 in 38.2 innings.

A native of Grafton, Ont., he says he feels no added pressure playing for Major League Baseball’s only Canadian team.

“I think of it as a better opportunity for us Canadians to hopefully make it one day,” he says. “Show our Canadian pride with a Canadian organization.”

Asked about some of his fellow countrymen on the team, Purdy says they are all pretty close on and off the field.

“For the most part, we kind of stick together,” he says. “Me and Dalton (Pompey, from Mississauga) are close. We hang out at the hotel. Me and Eric (Brown, from Thunder Bay) are also close and always try to stick together on the field during our work.”