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Quotes from MLB’s All-Star Media Day

National League 2023 All-Star team lines up for their photo on All-Star Media Day - Image Credit: Latino Sports

“I feel very happy for the opportunity… it’s my first All-Star Game and I feel good,” said Wander Franco, the Tampa Bay Rays 22-year-old shortstop, during ASG media availability this afternoon at T-Mobile Park in Seattle. 

Franco, a recipient of the 2021 AL LatinoMVP Rookie award, hailing from Bani, Dominican Republic, followed up the interview by telling folks, his favorite players to watch while growing up in the D.R. were José Ramírez and Manny Machado. Uniquely enough, he wears the No. 5, ‘out of respect and tribute,’ to Albert Pujols (nine-time LatinoMVP award winner).

Wander Franco – Image Credit: Tampa Bay Rays/MLB

In 86 games this season, Franco has posted a .278/.338/.459 slash line with 11 HR and 28 stolen bases. 

His American League All-Star teammate, Bo Bichette, the AL’s starting shortstop from the Blue Jays, went into detail on just how much appearing in the ASG means to him: 

“It’s always special to get selected and play alongside this amount of talent. It will always be an honor.” 

Bo Bichette during 2023 ASG Media Day – Image Credit: Toronto Blue Jays/MLB

He was then asked, ‘out of all the All-Stars here in Seattle, who would you want to chat with and learn more about?’ 

His answer: Luis Arráez of the Miami Marlins. “We can talk all day about hitting.” 

Luis Arráez during 2023 All-Star Media Day in Seattle – Image Credit: Emma Sharon/Latino Sports

Bichette, 25, of Brazilian-American family descent, leads MLB among shortstops in hits (122), average (.317), and OPS (.842) this season. 

Juan Soto (2021 NL LatinoMVP award winner), and Ronald Acuña Jr., (2018 NL LatinoMVP Rookie award winner), had an entertaining exchange with David Ortiz revealing some news on Fox Sports 1, during an interview alongside Alex Rodríguez, Derek Jeter, and Kevin Burkhardt. 

Ortiz said: “I just bought a property in a building in the Dominican Republic, and I bumped into Soto’s mom the other day. So, me and Soto, we’re gonna be neighbors. Now my question is ‘do you want me to start working on the batting cage area, so we can work during the off-season?’”

“You can make it happen, I’ll go,” Soto replied with a laugh and smile. 

Acuña Jr., then explained with Ortiz translating from Spanish-English, how the Braves All-Star worked out with Fernando Tatis Sr. this past offseason in the Dominican Republic to adjust on his swing and mechanics — “It helped me a lot. My swing, my balance, my mindset and that’s why I’m going through what I’m going through right now.” 

Ronald Acuña having fun and enjoying himself during ASG Batting Practice in Seattle – Image Credit: Emma Sharon/Latino Sports

Acuña Jr. has recorded a .990 OPS this season with 21 HR and 41 stolen bases in 89 games played — potentially, the next member of the illustrious 40-40 club? 

Acuña Jr. added: “I’m working on a daily-basis and trying to get better everyday. Having fun, that’s the most important thing.”

Robert Rizzo is a journalist and co-editor of Latino Sports – Email: RobertRiz994@gmail.com

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