Italy aims to surprise again at WBC '17

Cervelli, Colabello return to roster; team opens March 9 vs. Mexico

Italy aims to surprise again at WBC '17

Team Italy announced its roster for the 2017 World Baseball Classic Wednesday night on MLB Network, and the Italians will lean on Major League catchers and World Baseball Classic veterans Francisco Cervelli and Drew Butera to lead the team and pitching staff.

Italy will surely miss Cubs slugger Anthony Rizzo, but the Italians welcome back one of their top performers from the 2013 World Baseball Classic in Chris Colabello, who led the team in home runs (two), RBIs (seven) and total bases that year.

World Baseball Classic tickets

Italy was one of the biggest surprises in the '13 World Baseball Classic, and it once again enters this year's tournament as underdogs. The Italians open play March 9 in Pool D against Mexico, the team it stunned in the 2013 World Baseball Classic, at Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico. Italy's other opponents in Pool D include Puerto Rico and Venezuela.

The World Baseball Classic runs from March 6-22. In the U.S., games will air live exclusively in English on MLB Network and on an authenticated basis via MLBNetwork.com/watch, while ESPN Deportes and WatchESPN will provide the exclusive Spanish-language coverage. MLB.TV Premium subscribers in the U.S. will have access to watch every tournament game live on any of the streaming service's 400-plus supported devices. Internationally, the tournament will be distributed across all forms of television, internet, mobile and radio in territories excluding the U.S., Puerto Rico and Japan. Get tickets for games at Marlins Park, Tokyo Dome, Gocheok Sky Dome in Seoul, Estadio Charros de Jalisco in Mexico, Petco Park, as well as the Championship Round at Dodger Stadium, while complete coverage -- including schedules, video, stats and gear -- is available at WorldBaseballClassic.com.

Each team has the option of using the designated pitcher pool (DPP), which works like this: A team can use up to 10 designated pitchers but can't have more than two on its active roster at a time. Those "active" DPs can be replaced at the beginning of each of the next two rounds, but only by another DP. Once a DP has been replaced, he cannot return to the active roster for a subsequent round.

Mexico, Italy release rosters

Using Team Italy as an example, Orlando Junior Oberto and Carlos Teran are the active DPs for the first round of pool play, so they can be replaced on the roster before the second round or the championship round, but only by one of the team's other DPs. And if a DP joins for the second round, he can be replaced for the championship round, but only by another DP.

Marco Mazzieri returns to manage Team Italy, which advanced to the second round in '13. The Italians finished 10th in the '06 and '09 tournaments.

Mazzieri discusses Team Italy

Click on team for complete roster and breakdown.

POOL A
Chinese Taipei
Israel
Korea
Netherlands

POOL B
Australia
China
Cuba
Japan

POOL C
Canada
Colombia
Dominican Republic
United States

POOL D
Italy
Mexico
Puerto Rico
Venezuela

Pitchers
Filippo Crepaldi**
Tiago Da Silva
Frank De Jiulio**
Mike DeMark
Jose Escalona**
Nick Fanti, Philliles
Frailyn Florian
Sam Gaviglio, Mariners
Tommy Layne, Yankees
Luis Lugo, Indians
Alessandro Maestri
A.J. Morris
Trey Nielsen, Cardinals
Orlando Junior Oberto*
Luca Panerati**
Jordan Romano, Blue Jays
Carlos Teran*
Pat Venditte, Mariners

* Active designated pitchers pool
** Designated pitchers pool

Catchers
Drew Butera, Royals
Francisco Cervelli, Pirates
Marco Sabbatani

Infielders
Gavin Cecchini, Mets
Chris Colabello, Indians
Daniel Descalso
Alex Liddi
Andrew Maggi, Dodgers
Rob Segedin, Dodgers
Alessandro Vaglio

Outfielders
John Andreoli, Cubs
Mario Chiarini
Brandon Nimmo, Mets
Sebastiano Poma

Austin Laymance is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.