Seven Hawks on World Baseball Classic Rosters
Of the seven, only one is a household name, as 1999 Boise Hawk and former MLB All-Star Francisco Rodriguez was named to a star-studded Venezuela team that includes Felix Hernandez, Carlos Gonzalez, and Pablo Sandoval.
2008 Hawk Ryan Searle was named to the Australian entry that is anchored by Atlanta Braves righty, Peter Moylan. Searle saw action in six games with the Hawks during the ’08 season, going 1-2 with a 1.03 ERA and had an 8-5 record between Daytona, Tennessee, and Iowa in 2012.
The Taiwanese entry in the WBC will feature a pair of former Hawks – Hung-Wen Chen and Yao-Lin Wang. Chen, who pitched in two games for the Hawks in 2007, spent most of 2012 with Campeche in the Mexican League, while the 21-year-old Wang, who spent part of 2010 and the entire 2011 season with the Hawks (going 4-4 with a 3.22 ERA), is coming off a solid year in Peoria, where he had a 4-5 record and 3.92 ERA, adding 12 saves.
Another member of the 1999 Hawks will play for Team Mexico, as Alfredo Amezaga will be one of their utility infielders. Amezaga, who won a World Series ring with the 2002 L.A. Angels, spent the 2012 season with the Iowa Cubs – but has since by signed by the L.A. Dodgers.
Closing out the group are two players who will compete for Team Italy – Alex Maestri (pictured right) and Anthony Granato. Maestri, who posted a 4-3 record and 3.60 ERA with the 2006 Hawks, will pitch for the Italian squad for the second time. After being released by the Cubs in 2010, he bounced between the independent American Association and the Australian Baseball League in 2011, before having a solid 4-3 record and 2.17 ERA with the Orix Buffaloes in the Nippon League in Japan.
Granato (pictured left) is a story in itself – as the former VCU player spent a month with the Hawks in 2004, hitting three home runs in 27 games. After being released by the Cubs in 2005 and released by the Rockies a year later, Granato spent four seasons bouncing around the independent circuit before heading to Italy, where he became a star with T&A San Marino in the Italian Baseball League. A native Canadian, Granato recently received his Italian citizenship and thus a spot on the WBC roster.
The WBC begins with games in Asia on March 2 -with all games broadcast on the MLB Network.