Elly De La Cruz Learns to Speak Japanese with Shohei Ohtani

Elly De La Cruz has just been selected to his first All-Star Game. What is the Reds superstar shortstop most looking forward to when the best of the American and National Leagues converge on Arlington on July 15?

“I’m learning Japanese to talk to Shohei,” De La Cruz replied when asked that question Sunday after he was named to the team. He was, of course, referring to Shohei Ohtani.

Of all the things you can do at your first All-Star Game, that’s a pretty good tribute to the Dodgers superstar, who will start as DH for the NL team next week. And the fact that De La Cruz said it in English, which isn’t even his native language, made it all the more impressive. A 5-tool player and now a trilingual linguist?

The Dominican native has previously expressed his fascination with the Japanese superstar. Last year, when the Reds visited Anaheim and Ohtani was still with the Angels and landed at second base, De La Cruz jokingly squeezed him to make sure the larger-than-life Ohtani was real.

One of the All-Star storylines next week will be when De La Cruz and Ohtani meet. They both wear the same uniform and perhaps even speak the same language.

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