SURPRISE, Ariz. — When Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington fills out his lineup card on opening day, he will likely write down the names of players from seven different countries, plus Puerto Rico.
Baseball is clearly universal at Texas.
“When we’re out there on the field, we’re all from the same country. We all represent the Texas Rangers,” said Elvis Andrus, the shortstop from Venezuela. “Where you come from, or your nationality, actually don’t matter. When we’re all together, we’re family.”
Yu Darvish, the ace from Japan who finished second in the AL Cy Young voting last season, has been tabbed the opening day starter for the Rangers. His primary catcher is Geovany Soto from Puerto Rico.
The Rangers expected starting infield includes first baseman Prince Fielder (a Californian), second baseman Jurickson Profar from Curacao, Andrus and third baseman Adrian Beltre from the Dominican Republic. The planned outfield includes Shin-Soo Choo from South Korea, Leonys Martin from Cuba and Alex Rios, who was born in Alabama but grew up in Puerto Rico.
“I was just putting baseball players out there,” Washington said. “Geez, I never thought about all the different nationalities.”
There are players from different cultures and different languages — the Rangers even have a translator well-versed in both Japanese and Spanish.
But what never gets lost in translation is baseball and trying to get the Rangers to the playoffs for the fourth time in five years.
“Whoever can help our team to win ballgames, it doesn’t matter what color. ... I don’t think anybody is looking at nationality here, or colors, or anything,” Beltre said. “Baseball is baseball no matter where you’re from, and how you look. If you’ve got the talent to do your job well, you’re going to be welcomed to open arms everywhere.”