Rizzo to play for Italy in WBC

Anthony Rizzo hit .285 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI in 87 games in 2012. Christopher Hanewinckel/US Presswire

Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo said Wednesday he will play for Italy in the World Baseball Classic this March.

Rizzo, who was not invited to play for the United States, was given permission by the Cubs this week.

"You really don't worry about position players," manager Dale Sveum said. "They are going to do the same things in a spring training game that they would in the Classic. He will be working out with us and go over there for a few games and see what happens.

"You don't worry about that, you worry about pitchers because they put out too much competitiveness in a Classic like that."

Rizzo's great grandfather immigrated from Sicily to the United States at the turn of the 20th century.

"I think it is just a few days of mini- camp with Team Italy," Rizzo said. "I think I will be with them starting (March ) 5th and the games start the 7th, so it could be a week or we could make a run for the finals. Who knows."

Rizzo had a breakout season after an early June promotion to the major leagues. The 24-year-old hit .285 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI in 87 games in 2012.

The United States will announce its roster on Thursday.