WBC: Cubs Anthony Rizzo, Italy Surprise and Advance
By Joe Han
Anthony Rizzo stopped by Cubs camp in Arizona to catch the final of the second annual bunt tournament. He also had to pick up some belongings as he did not pack enough for a trip to Miami when he first left the Cubs for the World Baseball Classic. Rizzo and his fellow Italians have advanced to Round 2 of the international tournament despite losing to the United States in the final game.
That is because the Italians took care of business against Mexico and Canada, the other two teams in their Round 1 group. Rizzo of course led the comeback upset win over Mexico, as noted on Cubbies Crib recap on Friday, and they proceeded to beat down Canada 14-4 in game two. In that game Rizzo did not lead the attack with hits, but he did have a pair of walks that led to two runs in his stat sheet as well.
Mar. 7, 2013; Scottsdale, AZ, USA: Italy first baseman Anthony Rizzo celebrates a hit in the first inning against Mexico during the World Baseball Classic at Salt River Fields. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
While the Cubs have certainly missed his bat back in Cactus League play, the organization is certainly happy that Rizzo is playing a part in the success of Italy. Rizzo’s motherland will take on the Dominican Republic on Tuesday in a bid to continue a Cinderella type run typically found in the more well known March Madness that is college basketball.
If your country has already been knocked out of the tournament like Andrew’s Canada and my Korea, and are not rooting for the United States for whatever reason, you certainly should keep your eye on team Italy to catch Rizzo in action. It cannot be repeated enough that these tournament style at bats can only benefit the continued progress of a young player like Rizzo.