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Before receiving his recent injury news, catcher Jesus Flores agreed to help Nationals Buzz readers learn some basic Spanish words about baseball.
The young catcher grew up in Venezuela and signed with the Mets in 2002. The Mets organization provided regular classes to the Hispanic players to help them learn the new language.
Since arriving in Washington, Flores has worked hard to improve his speaking and writing ability in English, seeking out both a private tutor and opportunities to practice by participating in interviews, Q&A's and events with fans.
"You are in a country where everybody speaks English, a different language, so that should be your first goal -- to prepare yourself and be able to communicate with American people," Flores said.
While a season of injuries took its toll on the young catcher, he decided to fill that undesired free time with one-on-one English lessons. And the work is paying off.
"For me especially, it's very important because in my job I have to communicate with almost everybody during the game and on the field," he said. "You know, I have to have a good relationship with the pitchers and those kind of things; it's going to help to be on the same page with everybody in the same language."
Make no mistake, this was an important priority for Flores. In fact, he beamed with pride after surviving an online chat with fans conducted by the Washington Post. Once nervous of making mistakes, Flores is now very comfortable and proud of the hard work it took to get to this point, though he humbly admits that he still has a way to go.
"It's still tough because it's way different than my natural language, so you have to learn different words. The pronunciation is really tough for me," he said. "I'm still learning but it's something that's not hard. I'm going to keep pushing myself to keep learning and hopefully one day I can just speak fluent English."
If you see Jesus during the next homestand, be sure to tell him to get well soon -- or "Mejorate Pronto!"
Learn Spanish with Jesus:
Jesus Flores says pitcher:
Jesus Flores says catcher:
Let's go: Vamos
Jesus Flores says let's go:
First Base, Second Base, Third Base: Primera base, segunda base, tricera base