03/01/2006 3:31 PM - Former Kansas City T-Bones catcher Matt Ceriani was selected to play in the World Baseball Classic. The Italian team put Ceriani on the preliminary roster for the tournament, which will begin on March 3rd in Asia and March 7th in North America. Major league catcher Mike Piazza will also be playing for the Italian team.
Ceriani has played professional baseball since 1998; he spent the 2004 and 2005 seasons with the T-Bones. In 2004, he played 71 games as catcher, finishing the season with a .987 fielding percentage while allowing just four passed balls. Ceriani also had a strong season with the bat, smacking six homeruns and 30 RBI (both career highs) in 75 games. Ceriani returned to the T-Bones for the 2005 season, finishing with a .979 fielding percentage and hitting .250-2-22 in 48 games.
Ceriani previously played for Nettuno in the Italian Baseball League, and also spent time in the systems of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Milwaukee Brewers.
The World Baseball Classic is an international event designed to increase baseball exposure on an international level. A player is eligible for a teams roster if he or his parents are citizens of that country. This year, sixteen teams will compete in the baseball tournament; the championship game will be held March 20th in San Diego, CA. For more information, please visit the World Baseball Classic website at worldbaseballclassic.com.