KISSIMMEE, Fla. -- Second baseman Jose Altuve, catcher Carlos Corporan and infielder Cesar Izturis spoke in a meeting Tuesday with the Astros' contingent of Latin American players. The meeting was to discuss the benefits of learning English and assimilating into the U.S. culture.
"It's important for the young Latin players, especially those who are in big league camp for the first time, to hear from the veteran Latin players and get some tips from them about what helped them survive the early years and what's helped them have a long career in Major League Baseball," Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow said.
Izturis, a 13-year veteran who's played with nine teams, talked about the value of being able to understand the language to avoid an unnecessary disadvantage.
"These guys have a lot of obstacles to overcome when they come to the U.S., and the sooner they can learn the language, the less significant those obstacles are to overcome," Luhnow said.
Altuve spoke about the importance of understanding the instruction being given by the coaches, and Corporan told the players how vital it is to understand English in their off-the-field lives. He said it helped him deal with the illness of his son, who died in October 2012 at 16 months old.
Doris Gonzalez, the Astros' coordinator of player acculturation and language development, was part of the session as well.
"Doris talked to them about the resources we make available to the players to help them acclimate both culturally and from a language standpoint, but it's also important they support one another," Luhnow said. "Every Latin player had a Latin mentor who helped him early in his career, so we ask these guys to do the same thing for the Minor League players that are in the system."