In what may be the most important week of his international baseball career, Team Italy slugger Robel Garcia was reunited with manager Joe Maddon when the Los Angeles Angels claimed him off the waiver wire from the New York Mets and four days later was holding the Serie del Caribe trophy after winning the 63rd edition of the Caribbean Series with Dominican Republic powerhouse Águilas Cibaeñas in Mazatlán, Mexico on February 7, 2021. Former UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna and Chicago Cubs sensation Robel Garcia is expected to report to 2021 Los Angeles Angels Spring Training Camp in Tempe, Arizona where he will be reunited with Joe Maddon, who served as his manager when he hit five homers, two doubles, and two triples with 11 RBI in 31 games for the 2019 Chicago Cubs. The former Cubbies skipper sung praises to Robel Garcia after he hit a home run against the St. Louis Cardinals when he played back a clip of Bette Midler singing “Rochelle, Rochelle” from the popular Seinfeld sitcom television series and changed the name of the tune to “Robel, Robel.”
Having played second base and the corner outfield with the Chicago Cubs, 27-year-old Robel Garcia has ample experience at all infield positions to compete against fellow Angel utility players Franklin Barreto and Luis Rengifo for an Opening Day roster spot. The powerful switch-hitter spent the most of 2020 at the Cincinnati Reds alternate training site after getting claimed off waivers by Cincinnati in the first week of the season. Robel Garcia was added to the team's active MLB roster for one day last year but did not play. A popular claim off the waiver wire, Robel Garcia was once again claimed by the New York Mets on October 26, 2020. With the most recent claim by the Los Angeles Angels, he joins his fourth MLB organization in seven months and his fifth franchise of his professional career after being signed as a Cleveland Indians prospect in 2010.
Prior to signing a minor-league deal with the Chicago Cubs in late 2018, versatile Robel Garcia performed well for Team Italy from both sides of the plate in the 2018 Super 6 tournament in the Netherlands. In fact, he hit for the cycle in the 11-1 mercy-rule victory over Belgium on September 19, 2018. Robel Garcia ranked in the Top 4 of the Team Italy offense overall in following categories: first in triples (1), second in home runs (3), slugging percentage (1.313), and sacrifice flies (1), third in batting average (.563), on-base percentage (.579), runs scored (5), hits (9), and total bases (21), and fourth in RBI (7), doubles (1), and walks (2). As a dominant player for the Italian 2018 Serie A1 Champion UnipolSai Fortitudo Bologna squad, he raked in the Italian Baseball Series Championship with a second-best .571 slugging percentage and a third-best .357 batting average. Forza #Italia!
by Roberto Angotti