MIAMI -- Give an assist to Mike Piazza for helping recruit Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo to Team Italy.
Team Italy manager Marco Mazzieri revealed on Wednesday that Piazza, Italy's hitting coach, took the lead to getting Rizzo to play in the World Baseball Classic.
Initially, Rizzo was under consideration to be on Team USA. His situation changed when Mark Teixeira was offered the opportunity.
Piazza lives in South Florida, and Rizzo is from Fort Lauderdale, so it was easy for the two to connect.
"Actually, Mike Piazza was the one who first talked to him about doing this," Mazzieri said. "At one point we didn't know if we could get him because he had a chance of making the USA roster. But after I think they choose to go with Teixeira, Rizzo very happily decided to play for us."
'Captain America' name suits Wright just fine
MIAMI -- The Avengers may need to make room for another Captain America.
David Wright's heroics for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic have TV announcers calling the Mets All-Star "Captain America."
What Wright is doing in the tournament is movie-star worthy.
In the United States' 7-1 win over Puerto Rico on Tuesday night, the veteran third baseman drove in five runs. He has 10 RBIs in the tournament.
Team USA right-hander R.A. Dickey, Wright's former teammate in New York, is having fun with the new moniker.
Dickey, now with the Blue Jays, joked about getting Wright a Captain America outfit.
"If there's anybody who can pull off those kind of things it's probably Dickey," Wright said. "One day he's walking around in a Star Wars [outfit]. He's a big Star Wars guy. So if anybody can pull off the outfit and probably get it here, it would be Dickey."
Wright laughs off the idea of dressing up as a comic-book character.
"Am I going to be walking around wearing a super hero costume?" he said. "Probably not. Maybe for Halloween next year."
Astros prospect Correa could help PR in future
MIAMI -- Puerto Rico already has made a strong impression at the World Baseball Classic, and its future in international play promises to be bright.
In upcoming Classics, chances are Puerto Rico will feature shortstop sensation Carlos Correa, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2012 First-Year Player Draft by the Astros.
Puerto Rico manager Edwin Rodriguez said on Wednesday afternoon that he pursued carrying Correa and Indians prospect, Francisco Lindor, as non-roster players.
Rodriguez approached Major League Baseball about the keeping the two teenagers on the bench for the experience, and the understanding they wouldn't play.
Because MLB places a limit on the number of people who can be in uniform on the bench, the idea fizzled.
"I tried to bring [Correa] in," Rodriguez said. "I extended an invitation, but MLB did not allow him. Other than that, I think that eventually he will be here."
Correa played for Rodriguez, who manages in Puerto Rico.
"I thought that he still needed a little bit more work offensively," Rodriguez said.
Rodriguez would welcome return as Majors manager
MIAMI -- In the right situation, Edwin Rodriguez would be interested in managing again in the big leagues.
For now, the 52-year-old is perfectly happy managing Team Puerto Rico in addition to managing Double-A Akron in Cleveland's system.
Rodriguez led the Marlins to a 78-85 record in parts of two seasons. In May 2010, he replaced Fredi Gonzalez. But with the team struggling in June 2011, he resigned and was replaced by Jack McKeon.
Since 2011, he has managed in Cleveland's Minor League system as well as in Puerto Rico.
Already this year he has received calls to be on a big league coaching staff, but his interest is to manage at the big league level, or remain with what he is doing.
"Oh, definitely, I would like to do that down the road," Rodriguez said. "I haven't had any conversations regarding being the manager. Some organizations have been calling me about the possibility of becoming a coach.
"Since 2011, when I left the Marlins, and then in 2012, the same in 2013, they've been contacting me. But at this point in my career, I'm more interested in keeping managing than coaching. I don't want to take anything away from coaching, but at this point in my career I would like to stay as a manager regardless of what level it is."
Italy catcher Butera familiar with Puerto Rico
MIAMI -- On the international baseball stage, Team Italy catcher Drew Butera is no stranger to Puerto Rico.
Butera, a member of the Twins, in the past has played winter ball in Puerto Rico.
On Wednesday night, Butera was behind the plate for Italy against Puerto Rico in a World Baseball Classic elimination game at Marlins Park.
The styles of play in Puerto Rico and Italy are a bit different, the 29-year-old catcher said.
"I've come to know that Latin baseball is a little more aggressive as far as being at the plate and possibly taking some bases, stealing bases here and there," Butera said. "When I played in Puerto Rico and this past year in the Dominican, it was very much like a party, like a fiesta.
"I had a great time, but the games took five-and-a-half, six hours, which is OK."
He added, he noticed hitters in Puerto Rico were more aggressive early in counts. In Italy and in the United States, Butera noted players worked deeper counts.
"That's how American-style play is, take some pitches, get deep into the counts," he said. "Whereas, Latin American baseball, if I'm seeing it, I'm swinging at it."