NORWALK, Conn. It was the call Norwalks Matt Iannazzo has been waiting for since he began playing baseball. And it didnt take him long to turn pro.
It took about a minute, Iannazzo said of his contract negotiations with the Chicago Cubs, which agreed to terms with the left-handed pitcher Thursday morning. It was pretty quick.
Iannazzo, who set a career record for victories at the University of Pittsburgh this spring, will travel to Chicago on Friday. He will be assigned to the Cubs rookie team in Mesa, Ariz., which is scheduled to begin playing games later month.
Its something Ive been working on since I started playing baseball, said Iannazzo, who played at Norwalk High School. I did everything I was supposed to do along the way. Ive had a lot of support from a lot of people.
He finished 7-4 with a 3.95 ERA as a senior this spring for the Panthers. He won 28 games at Pitt, including an 11-2 mark with a 3.76 ERA as a sophomore. He hoped to be selected in last weeks Major League Draft but never got the call. On Thursday, the Cubs came through with the free agent offer.
Iannazzo said he considered playing in an independent league for the summer. I thought about the Frontier League or the Atlantic League,' he said. Fortunately this came through.
Although Iannazzo has proven himself at every level, his 5-foot, 9-inch frame deterred many teams from taking a chance on him. But now Iannazzo can prove that he can get batters out on the professional level.
I was disappointed and frustrated when I didnt get drafted, Iannazzo said. But nothing has ever been given to me. Ive had to earn everything. It all depends where youre from and who sees you on any given day. Im grateful for this opportunity, and I plan to make the most of it.