Pitcher Ryu Hyun-jin will not have to worry too much about his lack of English when he suits up for the Los Angeles Dodgers this year. ESPN reported on Tuesday, "Baseball owners approved a rule change last week, several sources have told ESPN, that would allow coaches and managers to bring interpreters to the mound this season for conferences with foreign-born pitchers who don't speak fluent English."
Until last season, only the manager and pitching coach were allowed to approach the mound. This led to communication problems with pitchers not fluent in English, making it difficult for the coaching staff to accurately assess their condition and decide on whether to replace them.
In Korea and Japan, it is common to see an interpreter going to the mound with a manager or coach to check on foreign pitchers.
For Ryu, the new regulation is surely welcome news. Upon joining the MLB outfit he said one of his priorities is to learn English quickly in order to communicate with his teammates and integrate seamlessly into the team.
While playing for Korea's Hanwha Eagles, Ryu was able to converse in rudimentary English with foreign pitchers, especially when the conversation was limited to baseball and its specific terminology, but soon came unstuck on longer, more complicated sentences. But given his sociable character, Ryu is expected to adapt quickly to his new team, culture and language.