Team Italy catcher Cesare Astorri signs minor league contract with Oakland A's

Touching down in America as a member of the Emilia Romagna Cadetti in the 2014 Little League World Series, Team Italy catcher Cesare Astorri dreamt as a young teenager that he would return to the U.S. to pursue his dream of playing professional baseball. From the moment his father Lodovico introduced him to the game at age four, Cesare Astorri was a natural born talent. Leaving his home in Parma a decade later, Astorri entered the Federazione Italiana Baseball Softball (FIBS) Academy in Tirrenia in search of the best available coaching in Italy. Refining his skills to become a five-tool player, he worked hard and trained vigorously to compete at the highest level possible. Cesare eventually became an integral player on the national U18 team by globetrotting with the Azzurri in two U18 European Championships and the U18 World Championship in Osaka, Japan.  
Mauro Mazzotti, 2012 EBCA European Coach of the Year and current San Marino General Manager, recruited 19-year-old Cesare Astorri to join him for the annual International Stars College Showcase in Phoenix, Arizona. Aimed primarily as an opportunity for international players from Europe and Australia to showcase in front of U.S. college coaches, the International Stars have also garnered the attention of MLB scouts as well. The Italian catcher made a lasting impression on those who came out to see him play. Mauro Mazzotti said, "I have known Cesare Astorri since he was 15 so it was easy for us to invite him to the International Stars College Showcase. Our showcase is open to all coaches and scouts who want to attend. Besides the A's, the Reds were also there. The weird thing is that he was still unsigned even with all the tools he possessed. He came out with us to get a college scholarship, and instead he ended up being signed by the A's to play professional baseball."  
Astorri is one of many success stories in which Mazzotti has had a hand. Perhaps his biggest score to date was the 2005 signing of Alex Liddi, the first Italian-born and developed player to make his MLB debut (Seattle Mariners, 2011). As for Astorri, he will start his professional campaign next month when he reports to Oakland A's Spring Training camp in Mesa, Arizona to prepare for his first Rookie League season. Fellow Team Italy catcher Alberto Mineo, who was claimed in the recent Rule 5 Draft by the Toronto Blue Jays, will be competing for a roster spot on Triple-A affiliate Buffalo during Jays Spring Training camp in Dunedin, Florida. Despite being thousands of miles apart, both Azzurri catchers share the same desire to break into the Big Leagues. Ultimately, Cesar Astorri's dream that he would one day return to America to play baseball professionally has come true. Let the journey begin... Forza #Italia! #2020Olympics #LetsMakeIthappen

by Roberto Angotti