There are quite a few former Clearwater Threshers who will be playing in the WBC representing various countries around the world. Italy leads the way with three ex-Threshers on their roster. Mike Costanzo, who was once the Phillies up and coming 3rd base prospect, will represent Italy, along with Mike Spidale a Phillies minor league journeyman, and Jack Santora who played for the 2004 squad under manager Mike Schmidt. Santora has one of the greatest plays ever in Threshers history, a behind the back toss to start a double play vs the Dunedin Bluejays and plays professional baseball in Italy. Meanwhile, Costanzo and Spidale each have names that sound sort of Italian and they know someone who visited Italy once, so under Italy’s loose rules they managed to qualify as eligible for the team.
Australia has two ex-Threshers on their roster, and one probabale 2009 Threshers player. Brad Harman, who was part of the 2007 FSL Championship squad will represent Australia, as will Drew Naylor who played on the Clearwater squad in 2008 while Joel Naughton an up-and-coming Phillies cathcer will also represent Australia and is likely going to play for Clearwater in 2009.
Three other teams: Canada, Puerto Rico and Venezuela each have one ex-Thresher on their roster. Pitcher R.J. Swindle, who played with Clearwater in 2007 during their FSL Championship season will represent Canada, and also from that Championship squad, Carlos Carrasco will be representing Venezuela. Jorge Padilla who was once a big up and coming prospect with the Phillies who spent 14 games in 2005 with Clearwater will represent Puerto Rico at the WBC.
Two other players who played for Clearwater, though prior to 2004 when the team was still known as the Phillies, are Carlos Silva who will represent Venezuela and Jimmy Rollins who will be the lone Team USA representative with Clearwater ties.
I wish nothing but the best for each of these players and their teams, but I will miss the chance to see many or all of them in Spring Training as they are off playing in the WBC.