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JUPITER Joey Rickard Jersey , Fla. (AP) — t full-squad spring training workout wearing a T-shirt that read, “I talk (trash) about you in Spanish,” with a word more pungent and less publishable than “trash.”The Marlins’ English speakers are onto him.At the behest of CEO Derek Jeter, the Marlins last year began Spanish language classes for coaches, and the program has since been expanded throughout the organization, from media relations to analytics to the front office. Now minor league players who speak English are being taught Spanish, while Spanish-speakers learn English — part of a trend in Major League Baseball toward more bilingual teams.“We want to invest in the players outside of their athletic abilities — invest in them as human beings,” Jeter says. “Communication is first and foremost when you talk about building a championship-caliber organization, which means making sure our Spanish-speaking players are speaking English, but also our English-speaking players speaking Spanish.”The Jeter regime’s education program for minor league players extends beyond language. They’re taught life skills and cultural awareness — an asset for youngsters hoping to break into the big leagues in one of the nation’s most diverse cities.The Marlins are not alone. About half of the 30 teams in the big leagues have begun offering Spanish lessons to English-speaking players in the past few years, says Major League Baseball vice president Paul Mifsud, who works with player programs.“The public focus on what the Marlins are doing has helped to improve both the quality of these kinds of initiatives, and the expediency with which teams are adopting this,” Mifsud says. “The Marlins’ industry leadership on this is extremely helpful. We’d like all 30 teams doing their best to get players the level of education they want on these issues, and I think we’re heading that direction.”Alfaro’s T-shirt was worn in jest — he’s bilingual, excited about his move to Miami and already a clubhouse leader. But potential cultural divides exist on any team, and the Marlins’ education program offers a bridge.“We’re learning about each other,” says Gary Denbo http://www.oriolesfanproshop.com/authentic-j.j.-hardy-jersey , vice president of scouting and player development. “We address cultural awareness: Why do Latin players listen to their music so loud? Why do American players take it so hard when they go 0 for 4 with the expectations placed on them by their families? Why do some guys talk so loud on the bus?“The work our education department is doing affects everything in our players’ lives. We cover cooking, shopping, nutrition and how to pay your bills and manage your money.”At the start of spring training, the Marlins held a cooking competition for a group of top minor leaguers. The winning team of outfielder Connor Scott, shortstop Osiris Johnson and pitcher Jorge Guzman celebrated with whoops and high-fives — exactly the kind of scene Marlins officials hope to see more of.The trio were white, black and Latin, and their chicken and broccoli stir fry reportedly was delicious.“You’ve got three guys from totally different worlds,” Denbo says. “And when they were announced as the winners, it was like they had won the World Series.”Scott, the Marlins’ first-round draft pick last year, says he appreciates the chance to learn about and communicate with another culture.“The better you know your teammates, the more you trust them,” Scott says. “I think that’s the biggest they’re preaching here — trust. If you don’t trust the guy next to you, how will you trust him to get the runner over, or trust that he’s not going to run into you in the outfield?”Scott says he took no Spanish in high school, but thanks to the Marlins he can now converse in the language. Catcher Will Banfield, a second-round draft pick last year, says he has made progress speaking Spanish when meeting with Latin pitchers Tim Beckham Jersey , although it’s not always as difficult as it might seem.“‘Curveball’ is ‘curveball,'” he says. “‘Slider’ is ‘slider.'”Still, as he anticipates an eventual promotion to Miami, Banfield says learning Spanish will help him, off the field as well as on the mound.The Marlins have hired six full-time teachers, plus part-time instructors. Every minor league affiliate will have a teacher this season, and when a team is at home, every player will receive Spanish, English or life skills lessons, according to Denbo.Marlins veterans applaud the program. Infielder Miguel Rojas, who’s bilingual, says improved language skills can ease the transition to the majors, especially in South Florida.“You’re going to jump in an Uber, and that guy is going to speak Spanish,” Rojas says. “So these American guys will be prepared with what they’re going to face in Miami.” Sean M. Haffey/Getty ImagesThe Los Angeles Dodgers defeated the Atlanta Braves 3-0 at Dodger Stadium on Friday night to take a commanding 2-0 lead in the National League Division Series.Clayton Kershaw was masterful on the mound, allowing just two hits across eight innings. Kershaw threw only 85 pitchesas the Braves' bats were silenced for a second straight game.The Dodgers, meanwhile, had their offense buoyed by a two-run home run from Manny Machado in the first inning and a solo jack off the bat of Yasmani Grandal in the fifth.MLB MLBMANNYWOOD. FngdCtFV7OKershaw Continues to Exorcise Playoff Demons with Dominant Game 2Fair or not http://www.oriolesfanproshop.com/authentic-j.j.-hardy-jersey , Kershaw has been dogged for years by a narrative that he isn't reliable in the postseason.And sure, there have been ugly moments along the way that leant credence to chatter about his shaky second-season demeanor.But if recent history has been any indication, it's hard to view Kershaw as some kind of playoff liability.Jon Weisman jonweismanI made a chart of all of Clayton Kershaws #Dodgers playoff starts, to show that yes, hes been terrible at times -- but hes also been great. mvNCAtTEU1 t2d6TiH9IcOne year after the southpaw went 3-0 with a 3.82 ERA across six postseason appearances (five starts), he picked up where he left off and made light work of Atlanta's lineup with a brilliant and efficient effort in Game 2.MLB Network MLBNetwork.ClaytonKersh22 was in command tonight. #MLBTonight breaks down the Dodgers Game Two victory, right now! #LADetermined #Postseason 4FP6mXBzuSAnd no, it wasn't a start dominated by overpowering stuff.That isn't Kershaw's M.O. anymore now that his fastball is barely eclipsing 90 mph on average, perFanGraphs.However, the three-time Cy Young Award winner was brilliant in other ways and induced weak contact all night long to frustrate a Braves lineup that ranked fourth among all clubs in hits."I don't care how you get the outs," Kershaw told ESPN.com'sAlden Gonzalezin September. "It doesn't matter to me how bad it looks, how good it looks, how many strikeouts you have. None of that stuff matters as long as you get the outs."The result of that mindset? Thelongestpostseason outing of Kershaw's career and, more importantly, a reminder that L.A. has the National League's most dangerous rotation.Braves' Lineup Showing Youth with Impatience at PlateThe Braves didn't record a single extra-base hit in Thursday night's Game 1 loss, and the results weren't much prettier Friday.Although Ronald Acuna Jr. led off the game with a double, that was the only real damage any Braves batter did against Kershaw.In fact, Kershaw retired 14 straight batters after Acuna's double before Ender Inciarte reached on an infield single with two outs in the top of the fifth inning.Compounding matters was that Atlanta simply didn't make L.A.'s ace work. While the Braves ranked a respectable 12th in weighted on-base average (.319) during the regular season Brad Brach Jersey , perFanGraphs, they were consumed by impatience and made life easy for the Dodgers as they hacked away at pitches early in the count and allowed Kershaw to produce quick outs.Bill Plunkett billplunkettocr#Braves are swinging like theyve got a plane to catch. Kershaw has faced 17 batters. Every one of them has swung at the first or second pitch. 5 swung at the 1st pitch, 12 were patient and waited for the 2nd. Result -- #Dodgers Kershaw is thru 5 scoreless IP on 55 pitches.Andy McCullough McCulloughTimesThe scouting report on Clayton Kershaw involves hunting fastballs and sliders up in the zone, early in the count, and looking to elevate. The Braves are just whacking everything into the ground. Six scoreless for Kershaw.As a result, the Braves offense is in a free-fall.And according to ESPN'sSarah Langs, they are the first team since the 1921 New York Giants to open a postseason series with back-to-back scoreless appearances.The Braves should be a force to be reckoned with in the National League for quite some time given the quality of their young core, but they are going to have to deal with a couple of sobering setbacks on the game's biggest stage before they can make another leap.Buehler Can Become Household Name with Big Performance in Decisive Game 3It's hard to grab headlining honors in the Dodgers rotation with Kershaw andHyun-Jin Ryu dealing, but Walker Buehler will have a chance to make himself a household name in Game 3.Just 24 years old, Buehler cemented himself as a core piece of L.A.'s starting staff this season as he rebounded from a forgettable 9.1 innings in 2017 to go 8-5 with a 2.62 ERA and 4.08 strikeout-to-walk rate."If it wasn't for Walker, we probably wouldn't be here in this situation right now," second basemen Enrique Hernandez said, per ESPN.com'sBradford Doolittle."He's been huge."Still, the hype has yet to reach a fever pitch.That can all change, though, if he rolls into hostile territory and leads the Dodgers to a sweep in Game 3.Some rejuvenated Braves bats will likely greet Buehler in Atlanta, but the opportunity will present itself for him to produce what is sure to be the first of many signature moments.What's Next?The series shifts to SunTrust Park in Atlanta as the Dodgers aim to punch their ticket to the NLCS. Game 3 will get underway Sunday at 8:07 p.m. ET.


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