At 16, the native of Pianoro (Bologna) became the youngest Italian to sign for a Major League team, following last year’s signing of shortstop Marten Gasperini for $1.3 million with the Kansas City Royals. The amount paid for Clemente was undisclosed, but the right-handed pitcher hardly cared about money. “It’s my life’s dream,” he told reporters after signing his contract. “I’ve been a fan of the Red Sox since I can remember.”
Clemente’s baseball roots are with Italian top team Fortitudo Bologna, where he grew to become one of the country’s most promising talents in a sport that is slowly growing in popularity. Over the summer, Clemente will spend his time training and playing in the MLB’s Instructional League in Dominican Republic.
There are currently nine Italian players in MLB, including Clemente and Gasperini. The others are Joel Valera, Alex Liddi and Federico Celli (LA Dodgers); Mattia Mercuri (Atlanta Braves); Alberto Mineo (Chicago Cubs); Federico Castagnini (Baltimore Orioles) and Davide Anselmi (Cincinnati Reds).