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Latino Players Welcome a Baseball Reporter Who ‘Speaks the Same Language’ -

Latino Players Welcome a Baseball Reporter Who ‘Speaks the Same Language’ -By JENNIFER KRAUSSAPRIL 2 , 2017The first time Fernando Salas , a relief pitcher from Mexico , spoke with reporters after the Mets acquired him from the Los AngelesAngels at the end of August , he gamely tried English , which he is still learning , and was roundly applauded for his efforts.‘Am I eligible for the playoffs?’ ”As the Mets welcome the Atlanta Braves to Citi Field on Monday for their season-opening game , Latinos account for closeto 30 percent of Major League Baseball players , according to the Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.“Colon , who spent three years with the Mets before leaving for the Atlanta Braves this winter , showed me how he gripsand throws all his pitches and explained the nuances of when and why he uses each of them.”There are also socioeconomic and cultural issues with which baseball has to contendthat may more easily be discussed with someone who speaks the language — even , perhaps , in a conversation that can’t be understood by English-speaking top brass who might stroll by.“They’re less apt to be misquoted and more able to express complex sentiments and ideas.”Three players who opened up , despite reputations for being guarded , stand outas examples to Mr. Wagner: Yunel Escobar , Rafael Soriano and Bartolo Colon.