Serra Grad to Play in World Baseball Classic

Former major-league pitcher joins Team Italia.


Serra High grad Dan Serafini will be in Arizona during spring training this year. He's not trying to make a major league squad though. He'll be playing for Team Italia in the World Baseball Classic.

The Italian National Baseball Team has won back-to-back European Championships and is currently ranked ninth in the world.

Serafini, at age 38, is the oldest player on the roster. The left-handed pitcher will be 39 on January 25, six months ahead of fellow pitcher Brian Sweeney, also 38.

Italy will play Mexico on Thursday, March 7 at Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, near Scottsdale at 1 p.m. (all times local) and then meet Canada the following day at 12:30 p.m.

Team USA and Italy play Friday, March 9 at Chase Field at 7 p.m.

The championship round is scheduled for AT&T Park March 17-19.

Serafini was a first round pick of the Minnesota Twins following his senior year at Serra in 1992. He signed soon after, giving up a scholarship to Miami.

He made his Major League debut with the Twins on June 25, 1996 against the New York Yankees. Serafini also pitched for the Chicago Cubs, San Diego Padres, Pittsburgh Pirates, Cincinnati Reds and Colorado Rockies, compiling a 15-16 career mark.

Serafini also played in the Anaheim Angels, San Francisco Giants, New York Mets, St. Louis Cardinals, and Milwaukee Brewers organizations.

Serafini pitched in Japan, in the Mexican League and in an independent league. His major league career effectively ended when he was suspended 50 games for testing positive for performance-enhancing substance. Serafini said it was medication he had taken in Japan.

He currently owns and operates Throw Like a Pro Baseball Academy in Sparks, Nevada.

The San Francisco Giants will also have a presence on Team Italia in minor league catcher Tyler Latorre.

Nine other Giants will also participate: Third baseman Pablo Sandoval , second baseman Marco Scutaro and left-hander Jose Mijares (Venezuela), right-hander Ryan Vogelsong and left-hander Jeremy Affeldt (USA), center fielder Angel Pagan and left-hander Javier Lopez (Puerto Rico), Santiago Casilla (Dominican Republic) and Sergio Romo (Mexico).


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