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Subscribe to USA TODAYAlready a print edition subscriber, but don't have a login?Activate your digital access.Manage your account settings.My AccountLog Out"We would have understood each other a lot better," Yunel Escobar says of his first major league manager, Atlanta's Bobby Cox. Escobar is glad major league teams must employ a Spanish language translator.(Photo: Kelvin Kuo, USA TODAY Sports)Raisel Iglesias now has a better way to share his gregarious personality with his Cincinnati Reds teammates. Aroldis Chapman may exchange fishing stories with Andrew Miller, the reliever he's supposed to replace as the New York Yankees closer. Henderson Alvarez can more clearly express to the news media how soon he might be ready to join the Oakland Athletics' rotation.These are but a few examples of the benefits Latin American players have garnered from the newly imposed requirement that every Major League Baseball team have a Spanish language translator.With nearly 24% of the players on this year's Opening Day rosters and disabled lists hailing from countries where Spanish is the dominant language, the implementation of the translator program has drawn overwhelmingly favorable reviews and questions of why it took so long."What we've heard is a lot of positive feedback,'' said Omar Minaya, a senior advisor to players association head Tony Clark. "A lot of the veteran players have said, Canada Goose Buy Chilliwack Ireland 'Boy, I wish I had that when I was coming up.'''USA TODAYOne amazing stat puts Bryce Harper hot start in perspectiveLos Angeles Angels infielder Yunel Escobar is among those who feel that way. Now playing for his fifth club in 10 seasons, the Cuba native clashed with manager Bobby Cox after breaking into the majors with the Atlanta Braves in 2007, and he has never developed much of a rapport with the news media.Although he could at times lean on a bilingual teammate or coach to help him deal with the language barrier, Escobar said it was frustrating not to be able to communicate directly with those around him. He believes having a translator readily available would have made a difference."We would have understood each other a lot better,'' said Escobar, who was suspended three games in 2012 after displaying a homophobic slur on his eye black. "Some players early in their careers have to keep quiet, can't express how they feel. I think if there had been (translators) from the time I came up in 2007, we could have avoided a lot of problems.''The push to require teams to provide Spanish language translators, through a program agreed to by MLB and the players association, was spearheaded by New York Yankees outfielder Carlos Beltran, a highly respected veteran with the stature to take his case to the union and get results.Beltran was still learning English when he came up with the Kansas City Royals in 1998 at age 21, and he found himself branded an introvert because of his reluctance to talk, which he attributed to his difficulty with the language.Like many other Latin players, Beltran noticed over the years that players from Asian countries arrived in the majors with a personal translator, sometimes even a second one for their wives. It didn't seem like equitable treatment, and Beltran finally decided to take action after watching Dominican teammate Michael Pineda struggle to explain himself to the media after being ejected for using pine tar two years ago."A lot of times when you don't speak the language well, you do an interview after a game and you want to say so many things but you're limited in how much you can express in English. That may give off the wrong impression,'' Beltran said.Carlos Beltran spoke up when he noticed translators available for Japanese players, but not those from Latin America. (Photo: Noah K. Murray, USA TODAY Sports)"In my first year here (in New York, in 2014), there were three Japanese players on the team with three interpreters, and there were a lot of Latin players who did not speak English well, yet we didn't have anybody who could relay to them information about things that were being talked about in the clubhouse.''The translators' role goes well beyond helping players communicate with the media. Depending on the player's command of English, they may convey instructions from the coaching or training staff, relate what is being said during a meeting, provide information about legal documents, help out in medical appointments and serve as a link with other players.
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