His grandma was sick and he had a trip to Thailand booked for New Year's, which was why Aaron Sloan wasn't going to play for the Canberra Cavalry this summer.
But the trimmed down utility got a message from his brother Jason asking him to cut short his holiday and join the Cavs' charge to what they hope will be a second Claxton Shield.
Cavalry manager Michael Collins was "pumped" Sloan not only pulled up stumps from Thailand, but made an immediate impact when he flew to Perth for last weekend's series against the Heat.
Now Sloan's hoping to play a role in helping Canberra not only make the play-offs, but be a major player. as the Cavs face an important second-last series against rivals Sydney Blue Sox this weekend.
Just a few months ago, the ABL was the last thing on his mind as he focused on family, fitness, work and playing baseball for the Weston Creek Indians.
"I just didn't play at the start of the year because my Gran was sick and I booked a holiday to Thailand for New Years," Sloan said.
But he got a few messages from his brother Jason, who also plays for the Cavalry, while he was in Thailand and he agreed to come back almost a week early.
It had been more than a year since Sloan's last Australian Baseball League appearance, after turf toe and a foot infection cut short last season.
He couldn't walk for about three months, but spent the off-season working out and lost 10-15 kilograms to come back in terrific shape.
"I went three months sober and was just going to the gym everyday before the Cavalry season started," he said.
"I was getting myself in good shape anyway and I've lost about 10-15 kilos from what I was last year."
Sloan's return was timely - he needed to play in the last three series to qualify for the ABL play-offs if the Cavalry make it.
Collins said a number of injuries to their Australian players - Jeremy Barnes (toe), Boss Moanaroa (calf) and Aaron Sayers (hand) - led to the Cavalry reaching out to Sloan.
The Cavalry manager had watched the 22-year-old play well for the Indians and that form translated into instant success in the ABL.
Sloan hit .333 in his three games against the Heat and more importantly put down a brilliant bunt that helped beat Perth in extra innings last Sunday.
He was MVP in the Cavalry's Claxton Shield winning team three years ago and also played in their Asia Series win in Taiwan.
"I saw him in club ball a couple of times, he looked great, physically he looks better, he looks healthy," Collins said.
"I know he's been taking care of himself, working out. He looks good, really impressive to see him step in against Perth.
"He had a couple of big hits and obviously the big bunt on Sunday. I'm pumped he stepped in and had some success, which surely gives him a little bit of breathing [space]. He can relax and just go out there and play."