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Ottavino shines for Italy

Adam Ottavino impressed Tuesday, pitching three innings of shutout ball against a powerful Venezuelan squad.

The Cardinals prospect is hurling for Italy, which got pounded 10-1 after he departed the game. Unfortunately, because of the awful timing of the World Baseball Classic, starters are on a on a pitch count that forced him to depart from the game even though he only allowed one hit and one walk in three innings. Ottavino struck out three.

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It's impressive to see Ottavino, a guy who spent last season in Class AA Springfield struggling to a 3-7 record with a 5.23 ERA, pitch so well against much better opposition than he is used to.

In 2008, Ottavino gave up 133 hits in 115 1/3 innings while striking out 96 and walking 52. He was much better in 2007 when he played for the Cardinals advance Class A team in Palm Beach. There he was 12-8 with a 3.08 ERA, giving up only 130 hits in 143 1/3 innings. He struck out 128 while walking 63.