Parma native Matteo Bocchi threw 2.2 scoreless innings of relief with three strikeouts and two walks in his Triple-A pitching debut for the Iowa Cubs against the Tacoma Rainiers at Cheney Stadium in Tacoma, Washington on August 5, 2019. The 23-year-old Italian pitcher entered the game in the bottom of the sixth inning with Rainiers shortstop Daniel Castro on first base and Team Italy outfielder John Andreoli on second base. He quickly made his impression felt by striking out Kelby Tomlinson. Then Matteo Bocchi walked Pacific Coast League Mid-Season All-Star Ian Miller. With bases loaded, the former Texas Longhorns hurler struck out recent Seattle Mariners call-up Tim Lopes to end the inning and the Rainiers’ scoring threat.
He came back to pitch a scoreless seventh and eighth inning. In his Triple-A pitching debut, Matteo Bocchi allowed no hits, surrendered two walks, and struck out three batters—including Team Italy’s John Andreoli. The Iowa Cubs 10-1 victory over the Tacoma Rainiers was fueled by Azzurri teammate Robel Garcia, who went 2-for-4 with solo home run and an RBI double. The Iowa Cubs (61-53) currently lead the Pacific Coast League American Northern Division by 10 games over second place Memphis Redbirds.
It has been a rapid rise for Matteo Bocchi since signing a minor league contract with the Chicago Cubs on June 13, 2019. After making eight appearances for the Arizona Rookie League Cubs 2, he pitched three scoreless innings of relief with three strikeouts and two walks for Single-A Short Season Eugene Emeralds on July 31. Then he was called up to Triple-A ball on August 5. It would be a milestone in Italian baseball history to see both Matteo Bocchi and Robel Garcia join the Chicago Cubs next month when the last year of the September 40-man roster expansion is implemented before the 2020 rule change takes effect and limits MLB rosters to 28 players in September. Forza #Italia! #LetsMakeItHappen
by Roberto Angotti