Joe Garagiola Jr., vice president of baseball operations for Major League Baseball, inspected facilities in Lakeland. The Italian team will play an exhibition game against a Detroit Tigers at Marchant Stadium March 4 at 1:05 p.m.
Catcher Mike Piazza is on the Italian squad, which will train at Tigertown March 3 to 6. Other major leaguer, like and Mike DiFelice, Frank Catalanotto, Mark DeRosa, David Dellucci, Tony Fiore, Mike Gallo, Jason Grilli, Matt Mantei, Frank Menechino, Doug Mirabelli, Val Pascucci, Joe Vitello and Pete Zoccolillo, also agree to participate the WBC.
Ron Myers, director of Lakeland operations for the Tigers, said hosting the Italian team in the middle of spring training would not be a problem. “Detroit’s minor league players don’t officially report until March 7 and their first workouts aren’t until March 8,” Myers said. That essentially leaves the four Tigertown fields available for the Italian team.
Italy will begin tournament play against Australia on March 7, Venezuela on March 8, and Dominican Republic on March 9 at the Disney sports complex.