Galante tabbed as Italy's manager

Astros executive to be joined by coaches Franco, DiSarcina

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HOUSTON -- Matt Galante is from New York and has spent most of his career with the Houston Astros, but for a couple of weeks this spring, he will reconnect with his original roots -- in Italy.

The Baseball Federation of Italy announced on Wednesday that Galante will manage the Italian Team for the inaugural World Baseball Classic next March. Galante's coaching staff will include pitching coach John Franco, who holds the all-time record for the most saves by a left-hander; former big-league shortstop Gary DiSarcina; Giampiero Faraone, who managed Italy since 2002 in international competition, including the 2004 Olympics; Mauro Mazzotti, a European scout for the Seattle Mariners; and Jim Mansilla, who coached Italy in the 1984 Olympics.

Galante, currently acting as special assistant to general manager Tim Purpura, has a 23-year affiliation with the Astros, the longest tenure by any coach in franchise history.

He was approached by Major League Baseball in June to manage the Italian team, and once he received permission from Purpura, Galante signed on.

"It's kind of exciting because it's a new thing," Galante said of the WBC. "Major League Baseball is 100 percent behind it, so that's a good thing."

DiSarcina, a 10-year big-league veteran, was an All-Star for the Angels in 1995.

"My grandmother was born in Gaeta and told me a lot about our country of origin," he said. "I would have never played in the big leagues if it weren't for her support, and I believe it's time for me to give something back to this country. You never know what's going to happen when the tournament starts. Italy is going to compete; we are going to be a good team."

A former player and manager for Nettuno of the Italian League, Faraone leads the national team in international play, and was the skipper of the team at the 2004 Olympics in Athens.

As a manager, Mazzotti has won a league title in Italy with Bologna three times. In 2006, he will manage the Champions of Europe for Grosseto of the Italian Series A League.

As the former Italian National Team head coach, Mansilla coached Italy in the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. He is currently coaching at Miami Dade Junior College.

The Italian team will train in Lakeland and open the WBC with the Australian team in Orlando on March 7.

Alyson Footer is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.