The Azzurri baseball squad arrived safely at Phoenix International Airport without bench coach Augusto Medina and infielder Erick Epifano for 2019 Spring Training at the Oakland Athletics Arizona complex in nearby Mesa. Team Italy manager Gilberto "Gibo" Gerali replaced Augusto Medina, who was stranded in Venezuela due to flight cancellations to and from this nation in crisis, with Rimini favorite Paolo Ceccaroli. The Italian skipper also made another last-minute replacement for injured Erick Epifano by welcoming Bologna's Filippo Agretti to the traveling 26-player squad.
Scheduled to remain on the Oakland A's turf for two weeks and play seven exhibition games, Team Italy worked off the jet lag at the initial training session at Fitch Park. The Azzurri squad will now prepare for a series of afternoon games against Oakland A’s minor league teams on March 20, 21 and 23 with first pitch slated for 1 pm. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti