UMass alum Torra to pitch for Italy in WBC

Former University of Massachusetts pitcher and Pittsfield, Mass., native Matt Torra, a 28-year-old minor leaguer still working at earning a shot in the bigs, hopes to open some eyes while pitching for Italy in the World Baseball Classic next month.

Torra's paternal great-grandfather was born in Italy, which makes him eligible for that country's team in the WBC.

"I'm really looking forward to that opportunity," Torra told the Daily Hampshire Gazette. "I think it's going to be a great experience."

Torra, who was a sandwich pick (between the first and second round) in the 2005 MLB draft, signed a minor league deal with the Washington Nationals in December and expects to be assigned to the team's Triple-A affiliate in Syracuse.

"As I'm getting later in my career as a minor leaguer, joining the Nationals is hopefully going to give me that boost that I need," Torra told the Gazette. "Hopefully something positive comes of it."

Torra was profiled last summer in a feature story by ESPNBoston.com contributor Marty Dobrow (CLICK HERE).