Week 10 of the Italian Baseball League kicks off with roster moves and player transactions heating up, while the actual standings seem very stable with five weekends remaining.
Rimini, Bologna, San Marino, and Nettuno sit atop the standings separated by only a pair of games, while Parma has slipped to five games back, and Padova seven, making the playoffs seem like a distant dream unless they can start to inch closer immediately, and two-win Novara sits secured of last place.
Defending champion Rimini coming off a tough extra inning loss in the Champions' Cup final, heads up the street to face arch rival San Marino with some important changes. Alexis Candelario, star foreign pitcher for Rimini, has left the team, heading to play Triple A in Mexico, leaving the team shocked and short a key piece of their roster. Additionally Freddy Noguera will undergo Tommy John and miss the remainder of the season after his injury in the Cup. Meanwhile for San Marino Mario Chiarini and Mattia Reginato are each also still a week away from returning from their injuries, leaving Mauro Mazzotti with a short bench for the three games.
Nettuno, trailing in the playoff seeding, but still happy at the top of the standings announced they had cut catcher Danilo Sanchez and replaced him with Venezuelan Juan Torres, who played a total of 262 minor league games for the New York Mets' organization. Hosting last place Novara should give them a chance to climb higher in the standings momentarily.
Meanwhile, Padova and Parma will battle for the right to keep hoping for a playoff berth. While each is a good distance out of the hunt, whoever loses this series can likely start planning for 2017, and Padova would realistically need to win all three just to keep a full seven games behind Nettuno. Parma meanwhile still hopes to claw their way closer to the playoff hunt one game at a time behind the pitching of Rodriguez, Bertolini, and Uviedo, knowing that with so few games any loss could be crushing for their hopes.
Bologna gets the week off, closely watching the San Marino and Rimini series, knowing they could find themselves alone in first place next week as a result of the head to head matchup.