Instead of spending time playing in the World Baseball Classic, Jeff Bianchi will be rehabbing an injury.
The Brewers announced Tuesday that their reserve infielder had to withdraw from playing with Italy in the WBC because of a left groin strain suffered in last Saturday’s spring training game.
Born in the United States but of Italian descent, Bianchi was expected to be Italy’s starting shortstop when it opened pool play Thursday against Mexico at Chase Field in Phoenix. Bianchi, 26, will instead stay in Milwaukee’s camp, where he’ll hope to get back on the field quickly enough to continue to fight for a spot on the Opening Day roster.
Making his major league debut last season, Bianchi hit .188 with three home runs and nine RBI in 33 games for the Brewers and is trying to make the club this season in a utility role. Competing with the likes of Donnie Murphy, Bobby Crosby and Caleb Gindl for one of the final roster spots, Bianchi was going to get a look in the outfield during spring training to see if he could expand his versatility.
With Bianchi withdrawing from the World Baseball Classic, Milwaukee is down to 12 participants. The team initially had 15 players headed to play in the tournament, but center fielder Carlos Gomez, minor league pitcher Nick Bucci and now Bianchi have dropped out.