Young Reds Star Elly De La Cruz Masters English Before Start of 2024 Season

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Elly De La Cruz, an infielder with the Cincinnati Reds, is already setting personal records for 2024 before the season even formally begins.

The 22-year-old Dominican Republic native discussed to reporters exclusively in English for the first time on Wednesday at a press conference.

As a rookie last season, De La Cruz, who speaks Spanish directly, gained a lot of admirers by interpreting for others. He wants to be able to speak to them directly now.

It’s vital for the fans to know me and for me to understand the fans, so it’s really essential to me that you guys now get what I’m saying,” he said. “I’ve put a lot of work on my English to talk with you guys.”

It would be hard to reject, he said, laughing, that he felt he was doing a fine job. According to the US Census Bureau, 20% of all Americans might speak two or more languages in 2023. 

While playing at the top level of organized baseball in the United States and Canada, De La Cruz was one of the most enjoyable players and he also managed to add another language to his repertoire.

He gave the impression that it was simple when questioned about his method: “I practice every day, talking with the other guys,” he added, referring to his colleagues. “I just started with them, and I let it go. I like talking with the American guys because I create confidence.”

De La Cruz smiled as a reporter made a joke about how translator Jorge Merlos became older. 

Smiling, he continued, “I don’t need Jorge anymore.” Merlos made a joke about just walking away, but De La Cruz chuckled and said, “He helped me a lot.”

Elly De La Cruz’s Record-Breaking Start

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Elly De La Cruz, an infielder with the Cincinnati Reds, is already setting personal records for 2024 before the season even formally begins.

Merlos started the Reds Community Fund as an intern in 2016, and he has been with the organization ever since. In 2020, he took responsibility for player translations. Along with working with De La Cruz, he is also seen providing translation services for All-Star bullpen pitcher Alexis Díaz.

Ippei Mizuhara, the translator for Los Angeles Dodgers star Shohei Ohtani, was let off last week following the Japanese player’s charge of “massive theft”.

Reds manager David Bell said that De La Cruz’s attempt to learn English is just an illustration of his character:

“He’s incredibly thoughtful. He’s humble, the way he listens and learns,” Bell said. “It’s amazing. I can’t relate to that. The courage that takes, and just the respect that he has. It’s impressive.”

Since the Reds called themselves “America’s Team” the previous season, the bravery is not shocking. The group’s collective confidence, with De La Cruz at its core, bolstered the term.

Through the time the Reds brought him up from Triple-A Louisville in June of last year, he has been supplying highlights. With his first big league home run in years, the 6-foot-5 sensation made an immediate impression by destroying the hardest hit Reds ball in years.

In 98 games during his rookie season, De La Cruz hit.235 with 13 home runs, 67 runs, and 35 stolen bases.

On Opening Day Thursday, he and the Reds will take on the Washington Nationals at Great American Ball Park.

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