This past Saturday, the Italian American Baseball Foundation announced that Toronto Blue Jays closer Jordan Romano will pitch for Italy during the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
The Markham, Ontario native will be making his second appearance for Italy after suiting up for them during the 2017 World Baseball Classic. Romano was not chosen by Canada that year, but you can’t blame them as he was coming off major surgery and was still in the lower levels of the Toronto Blue Jays organization at the time. Romano told Baseball America back that year that his consideration to play for Italy was because his father was born in Italy where he lived until he was five years old, at which point his grandparents moved from Italy to Canada.
During the 2017 World Baseball Classic, Italy posted a 1-3 record and Romano collected the only win for the country after making two appearances out of the bullpen. The then 24-year old tossed a total of 1.2 innings and surrendered three earned runs on two hits while striking out four.
Over the last two seasons, Romano has become one of the most reliable bullpen arms in baseball and has posted a 9-2 record with 25 saves, with a 1.97 ERA and a 12.3 strikeout per nine innings rate. Some may wonder why one of the top Canadian born pitchers in the Major Leagues has decided to represent Italy and Hazel Mae had the answer on Sunday, Romano stated “I wanted to pitch for Canada in 2017 but they didn’t have a spot for me and I was in low ‘A’ at the time (coming off TJ).. Italy asked, and I had a great experience.. they gave me a shot and I want to be loyal to them.”
Blue Jays pitcher Jordan Romano has decided to stay loyal to the country that gave him an opportunity in 2017 and will pitch for Italy at the 2023 World Baseball Classic.
So far this Spring Training, Romano has made two appearances, throwing a total of two innings and allowing one run. Watching another season of Romano close-out games would have built up the excitement to see him in a Canada jersey, but I respect the fact that Romano has decided to stay loyal to Italy, and he has now given me an underdog country to cheer for at next seasons World Baseball Classic.