Team Italy slugger Robel Garcia congratulated after hitting home run in 2018 Super 6 against Belgium (K73-Oldmanagency)

Team Italy in MLB: Robel Garcia claimed by Houston Astros and John Andreoli signed by San Diego Padres

Team Italy sluggers Robel Garcia and John Andreoli have been popular on the waiver wire in recent years. 27-year-old Robel Garcia, who made his 2019 MLB debut while playing second base as well as the corner outfield positions for the Chicago Cubs, was claimed by the Houston Astros on February 27, 2021 after being designated for assignment by the Los Angeles Angels two days prior. Meanwhile, 30-year-old John Andreoli signed a minor-league contract with the San Diego Padres on February 17, 2021. 

Robel Garcia spent most of 2020 at the Cincinnati Reds alternate training site after getting claimed off waivers by Cincinnati during the first week of the season. The powerful switch-hitter was added to the team's active MLB roster for one day last year but did not play. Robel Garcia was claimed by the New York Mets on October 26, 2020 and the Los Angeles Angels on February 3, 2021. Adding the most recent claim by the Houston Astros, he joins his fourth MLB organization in seven months and his sixth franchise of his professional career after being signed as a Cleveland Indians prospect in 2010. With ample experience at all infield positions, Robel Garcia is poised to compete against fellow Houston utility players Almedys Diaz and Abraham Toro for an Opening Day roster spot.

After making his MLB debut for the Seattle Mariners on May 23, 2018, John Andreoli was claimed off waivers by the Baltimore Orioles on August 18, 2018, reclaimed by the Seattle Mariners on October 31, 2018, claimed by the Texas Rangers on January 15, 2019 and claimed one more time by the San Francisco Giants on February 1, 2019. He was traded to the Minnesota Twins on March 23, 2019 and traded again on June 2, 2019 to the Seattle Mariners. On December 20, 2019, the Boston Red Sox signed John Andreoli to a minor-league contract with an invite to 2020 Spring Training. He was assigned to the Red Sox alternate training site on July 17, 2020 but never saw MLB action during the abbreviated season.

John Andreoli signed a minor-league contract with the San Diego Padres on February 17, 2021. The versatile outfielder was assigned to Triple-A affilate El Paso Chihuahuas, but it would not be surprising to see John Andreoli play for the San Diego Padres during 2021 Spring Training in Arizona. With a crowded Padres outfield featuring the likes of Tommy Pham, Trent Grisham, Wil Myers, Jurickson Profar, and Brian O'Grady, John Andreoli will most likely audition for a late-season addition to the San Diego Padres roster while flashing his speed and power in El Paso. Forza #Italia!

by Roberto Angotti