New York Mets legend and MLB Hall of Famer Mike Piazza is returning to the dugout.
Just not in North America, at least for now.
Piazza announced on Wednesday morning that he is the next manager of the Italian National Baseball Team where he will lead them through a European tournament and the 2021 World Baseball Classic.
He served with the Italian team as a player during the 2006 World Baseball Classic before becoming a hitting coach in 2009.
Later as a hitting instructor for the Italian Baseball Academy, he helped the team win two-straight European titles in 2010 and 2012 and is largely responsible for bringing on Chicago Cubs star first baseman Anthony Rizzo into the side.
The 51-year-old has moved to Italy since retiring from baseball in 2007. His time there has included a brief, two-year ownership of a third-tier Italian soccer team that did not go well, to put it lightly.
Back in his natural sport, Piazza now will have an opportunity to lead Italy to unprecedented heights on the international stage.
The country has never finished higher than seventh in four World Baseball Classics.
The gig will be Piazza’s second foray into managing. His first stint was brief as he led Team USA in the 2011 Futures Game during All-Star weekend.
Could this be Piazza’s first step toward MLB management?
If all goes well for the Mets, there won’t be a position available for him after they hired Carlos Beltran to the role earlier this month.