TAMPA, Fla. — The Tampa Bay Rays' Manny Navarro wears many hats.
- Manny Navarro has been team's interpreter since 2017
- He helps with interviews, discussions with coaching staff
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"He's a brother, he's a friend, and most importantly, family," said Rays outfielder Guillermo Heredia.
Navarro serves as the team's Latin American players' voice - he’s been the team's official interpreter since 2017.
You may have seen him during postgame interviews, sitting alongside the players.
"I made my college career playing as a utility player. I figure if I could do that with this team as a utility guy, you can do whatever you can for the team and that’s what I’m here for," Navarro said.
The former Cal Poly Pomona baseball player had no idea what to expect when he took on the role.
"To be honest with you, I had no idea that it was even a job," he laughed.
He quickly stepped into his new role, doing everything from interviews, talking to coaches - you name it, he's there.
"Key word: comfortable. Making them comfortable. A lot of guys didn't grow up here," he said.
Heredia has played in the United States for the past four years, and as he continues to adapt to American life, he has found solace in Navarro.
"It's like he's part of our family, especially with me, since it's not as easy for me to speak English," Heredia said.
Navarro really does take his role of utility player very seriously - in addition to interpreting, he also helps players warm up on the field before each game.
"The number one thing is helping players get better, however that may be," Navarro said. "So not technically a coach as a role, but I like to help and be available to the coaches in whichever way they need be possible."
On the field, players come from different walks of life. But at the end of the day, Navarro says, they're not so different.
"It's a language and baseball is also a language, in my opinion, and we can all relate to that."
"Manny's the translator, he's on the field, he's a friend, he's a brother, and I'm truly happy to have met him," Heredia said.