D'Alessandro signs with Toronto Blue Jays organization

WASHINGTON – Justin D'Alessandro recently received the phone call that he's been waiting his entire life for. D'Alessandro was signed by the Toronto Blue Jays organization and will soon be headed to Florida to get his professional career started.

"This has been my dream my entire life," D'Alessandro said.  "It's hard to put into words.  I expected this to happen because it's something I've been working towards, but it's still unbelievable."

CUA Head Coach Ross Natoli added, "We're all very proud of Justin and excited for this opportunity.  He was a tremendous competitor during his time at CUA and we'll be monitoring his progress very closely as he continues to chase his dream of playing professional baseball."

In late May, D'Alessandro attended a local workout with the Washington Nationals.  He was able to show his skills to a number of scouts, while also meeting other baseball players from across the country.

During this time, he remained in contact with the Blue Jays organization.  After not hearing his name called in the Major League Baseball draft earlier this week, D'Alessandro's phone rang with the Blue Jays on the other side delivering the good news.

D'Alessandro will leave Pittsburgh on Saturday morning and fly to Tampa Bay.  He'll then travel to Dunedin, Fla. where he will receive a physical and attend his first workout on Sunday.

The 6-4 pitcher will head to a player developmental league and after several weeks, he'll be re-assigned to rookie ball.  Two possibilities for D'Alessandro could be short season A ball in the Pioneer League with the Vancouver Canadians or rookie league ball in the Appalachian League with the Bluefield (W.V.) Blue Jays.

"I know I have the ability and some of it is untapped, so I'm just going down there with the mindset to give it everything I have and whatever happens, happens.  My goal is to go all the way to the major leagues.  I realize how lucky I am to have this opportunity and I'm going to make the most of it."

D'Alessandro led the Cardinals with a 3.64 earned run average this past season. The right-hander went 4-3 on the hill, striking out 40 in 42 innings.  Opponents hit just .231 off him in 12 appearances.

D'Alessandro's best game came in an 11-2 win over Scranton on Senior Day, which helped CUA lock up the No. 3 seed in the Landmark Conference Tournament.  D'Alessandro went seven innings, struck out six and did not allow a single run in helping lead the Cardinals to victory.

D'Alessandro finished his career with 70 strikeouts in 81 innings.

"I came to CUA because I wanted to study architecture and play baseball and the university offered that, in addition to being in a big city.  I really enjoyed the campus and I met some of my closest friends during my time at CUA."

D'Alessandro continued, "I valued having Coach Natoli these past four years.  He truly cared about seeing me succeed as a student.  It was very important to him for me to earn my degree, so he was always accommodating in regards to my schedule if I had to miss practice due to class or a lab.  He never once compromised my education."

He concluded, "I'm very appreciative of the opportunities I was given at CUA.  We have tremendous coaches, some of the best facilities in the nation and I had a great experience overall."

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