Luca Panerati is slated to start for Team Italy Saturday night against Team USA, in a game that could eliminate the Americans from the World Baseball Classic.
A brief bio: Panerati was born in Grossetto, Italy. He pitched in the Cincinnati farm system from 2008 until 2011, when he was released. The 23-year-old left-hander spent last season in his homeland, pitching for Bologna of the Italian Baseball League, and has contemplated the possibility of playing in Japan.
Panerati’s role model in this itinerant pitching life?
Naturally, R.A. Dickey.
“I was reading R.A. Dickey’s book,” Panerati said Friday, as he stood on the field before Italy’s 14-4 triumph over Canada. “It’s a crazy story. That really made me realize if you get released by a team, it doesn’t mean you don’t belong. You decide when it’s over – just you.
“Nobody can tell you that you can’t pitch. Nobody can tell you that you can’t run. Nobody can tell you that you can’t hit. It’s just you. You’ve got to believe