Maestri with Saltdogs

13 Aprile 2011

LINCOLN, Neb. – The Lincoln Saltdogs signed two more accomplished arms for the fast-approaching 2011 season Friday: RHP Alex Maestri and LHP Tommy Palica.

Maestri made history in 2006 when he became the first Italian-born pitcher to be signed by a Major League organization (Chicago Cubs.).  Hailing from Cesena, the two-time All-Star represented his country by pitching in the World Baseball Classic in both 2006 and 2009.

Spending five seasons in the Cubs organization, Maestri was used as both a starter and reliever, going 24-17 with a 3.75 ERA with 19 saves in 191 games.  In 2007 he earned a spot on the Midwest League All-Star team for Class-A Peoria, posting a 6-3 record with a 2.26 ERA and 12 saves, while averaging a strikeout per inning.  A year later, Maestri made the Florida State League All-Star team as a starter, going 5-3 with a 3.69 ERA for Class-A Advanced Daytona before being promoted.

Palica was selected by the Atlanta Braves in the 10th round of the 2007 MLB amateur draft.  The Huntington Beach, CA native pitched four seasons in the Braves system, reaching as high as Class-AA Mississippi.  Palica was a strikeout machine at four different levels for Atlanta, averaging better than 10 strikeouts per nine innings for his career, with a personal-best 83 strikeouts in 66 innings for Class-A Rome in 2008.

The southpaw amassed a 19-11 record with 17 saves in his 138 games, including three starts and 60 games finished.  He tallied 253 strikeouts and 85 walks in 223 2/3 innings of work, with a 4.10 ERA.  Palica played collegiately at Golden West College in Huntington Beach.

The 2011 Lincoln Saltdogs season begins on May 11 in Shreveport, with the home opener scheduled for May 24 against Kansas City.  For more team and ticket information, go to