MLB: Azzurri catcher Francisco Cervelli (Pittsburgh Pirates) has already belted two home runs and four doubles so far since April 3, 2017. With a career high of seven homers and 17 doubles during his first year with the Bucs in 2015, Cervelli is on pace to set career-best stats in home runs and extra-base hits in 2017. Having suffered a minor Grade 1 strain of his left oblique after the WBC and during spring training, Team Italy DH Drew Butera (Kansas City Royals) has played in only three games and has had seven at-bats. Another player nursing an injury with a hamstring strain and a bruised hand is Team Italy center fielder Brandon Nimmo (New York Mets). The Azzurri leadoff hitter is coming off the 10-day DL soon to make his 2017 debut for the Mets. Team Italy second baseman Daniel Descalso (Arizona Diamondbacks) has been a true utility player for the D-Backs as he has been seen defensively in left field, third base, second base and first base. After making his MLB debut last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers, Rob Segedin started 2017 with Triple-A affiliate Oklahoma City, where he led the Minor Leagues in slugging percentage (.598) and ranked second in OPS (.989) last season. But you can’t keep a good man down! Segedin hit .324 with two doubles, two home runs and five RBI in nine games for the 2017 Oklahoma City Dodgers. After hitting safely in all but two games and recording five multi-hit games, the Los Angeles Dodgers recalled Rob Segedin and started him at first base on April 17, 2017. Meanwhile, on the east coast, Team Italy Azzurri left-handed reliever specialist Tommy Layne (New York Yankees) is a significant piece of the Yanks bullpen with stablemates Tyler Clippard, Dellin Betances and Aroldis Chapman. He has already made five appearances in 2017.
Azzurri Sluggers in MiLB: Team Italy first baseman Chris Colabello is playing for Cleveland Indians Triple-A affiliate Columbus Clippers. If the Azzurri slugger does not get called up to the Big Leagues soon, he can exercise his right to sign with another MLB team in need of a powerful bat. Azzurri outfielder John Andreoli, who led Team Italy to victory over Mexico in the 2017 WBC with his solo home run in the first inning and his walk-off single in the ninth inning, is currently playing for Chicago Cubs Triple-A affiliate Iowa Cubs. Having made his MLB debut for the New York Mets in 2016, Team Italy shortstop Gavin Cecchini gets an opportunity to prove himself worthy of Big League status by being productive as the day-to-day leadoff hitter for Triple-A affiliate Las Vegas 51s. Azzurri utility player Drew Maggi is currently on the 7-day DL while rehabbing for LA Dodgers Triple-A affiliate Oklahoma City Dodgers.
Azzurri Pitchers in MiLB: Right-hander Sam Gaviglio currently pitches for Seattle Mariners Triple-A affiliate Tacoma Rainiers. Azzurri ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte is playing for Philadelphia Phillies Triple-A affiliate Lehigh Valley IronPigs. Team Italy lefty Nick Fanti pitches for Philadelphia Phillies Single-A affiliate Lakewood BlueClaws. Venezuelan-born Azzurri pitcher Luis Lugo is with Cleveland Indians Double-A affiliate Akron RubberDucks. Team Italy hurler Trey Nielsen pitches for St. Louis Cardinals Double-A affiliate Springfield Cardinals. Canadian-born Azzurri pitcher Jordan Romano is currently playing for Toronto Blue Jays Single-A Advanced affiliate Dunedin Blue Jays.
by Roberto Angotti