The language of baseball is enough for Richard Urena

Dominican native is sailing along fine despite struggles with culture and language

Photo Credit: Lauren Maharaj/Richard Urena, Blue Jays Minor League  Camp
Photo Credit: Lauren Maharaj/Richard Urena, Blue Jays Minor League Camp

Dunedin, Fla, — Blue Jays shortstop prospect Richard Urena is fluent in baseball.

Still, Urena admits that even after two years of minor league baseball with the Blue Jays organization he still struggles with the English language.

He stands firm that he is capable of soaking up the best of his experiences in North American camp despite that minor problem.

“I feel really comfortable in the sport,” Urena said at the Bobby Mattick Complex on a humid Thursday afternoon. “I’ve been doing it for five years now professionally. I feel good about it and I feel more natural and comfortable on the field.”

The 18-year-old played multiple positions with the Vancouver Canadians last season and as a shortstop only committed 40 errors in 119 games. Urena feels his best asset gained since the 2012 draft is his patience.

“When I was in the Dominican I was 16 I was a little bit crazy headed,” said Urena.

“But now I have a better head on my shoulders since I’ve gotten here. And obviously the English learning has helped me a little more too.”

That “crazy head” was a part of a package that included Urena’s towering frame, long range and power all wrapped into a ninth overall ranking in the Dominican Prospect League. This is what he will be looking to complement as he works at showcasing himself for the upcoming season.

“(In spring training I want to) work hard, play physical and focus on what I want so I can try and get there as quickly as possible,” said Urena.

Urena’s constant battle with the English language will always be a few steps behind his baseball progression.

“It’s a little bit hard,” said Urena. “Sometimes I run into issues, but the team eventually helps me out.”

Follow Lauren Maharaj on Twitter @l_maharaj40