[12/5 update: My Spanish sucks, corrected translation of the final question at the end]
Friend of the site Arving Gonzalez has posted a press conference Nelson Cruz did in the DR late this past week, and because he is awesome he also provided us a translation.
Nelson: I think acquiring a lead-off hitter, something we didn’t have last season, in Jean Segura gives us a better balance and makes the line-up deeper. Robinson, Seager, and I will have more chances to drive home more runs with a legit first batter like Segura.
Arving Gonzalez: Jerry Dipoto told me that you have the permission to play in the WBC, but you need to talk about the possibility of playing winter league ball. Are you thinking of joining the Gigantes?
Nelson: Yes. I think that all Dominican ball players that want to play in the WBC think about playing in Dominican Winter League as preparation for the WBC, so we arrive very well-prepared. Am I planning to play? Yes. But first I have to get permission.
Journalist: You don’t have permission yet from the Mariners?
Nelson: I don't have permission yet to play in the winter leagues. In the WBC, yes, but not yet in the Dominican leagues.
Journalist: Dipoto said you have been a fundamental part in the clubhouse, keeping good harmony, that the team has built around you and Canó. How do you feel about creating this leadership in the clubhouse?
Nelson: I think age makes you wise, you've known and have lived through different baseball situations, therefore there are so many young players you can help, give them advice, not just about the game, but about daily life, about how to get ready for a game every day. I think there are countless things that I, with my experience, can help young players with. That's our role, although we don't prepare for this, but as veteran players, we must help the others and that's our focus right now.
Journalist: Speaking of preparation, you’ve been healthy for the last two seasons. What is your physical preparation like to get to spring training and then the regular season?
Nelson: Well, in previous years my problems were with my legs, the hamstrings and quads. I've learned I don't necessarily have to be stealing bases and don't have to run so fast when I hit grounders to 2B and SS. I think that's experience, to know your body and the physical training I've done over the last few years has helped me to have healthy seasons and put up good numbers.
Journalist: Nelson, you finished second in the Edgar Martínez Award voting, behind David Ortíz. Do you feel comfortable being a designated hitter more than a outfielder?
Nelson: I have to get accustomed to it, that's my role. In 2014 and 2015, it was hard for me, but in this season, I definitely took the position that "if this is my role, I have to get used to it," despite the fact that I love playing defense. I still think DHing is kind of boring. But you have to have a routine. I think that the preparation for DH is a little harder than any position, only batting, because when you're going fine you can go, take a bat, swing and it’s going to be OK. The problem is when you are in a slump, you have too much time to think and this can affect you.
Journalist: What's your take on the new CBA?
Nelson: We got what we were looking for. We as Latinos must feel happy that we got the international draft rejected and avoided raising the signing age, so in that sense it was successful. Generally, we obtained all the things we desired.
Journalist: What else could the Mariners find in the market to get to that long-awaited first World Series?
Nelson: Well, in 2014 when I wasn't a Mariner, it was a lack of offense. Last season, it was lack of starting pitching and relievers, and this season I think the lack of relievers harmed us again. We lost 24 games after the seventh, and this says a lot about the points we have to improve. The general manager has done his job, we have acquired the left-handed pitching that is so valuable to all teams. It's still early, there's so much time before the season starts; I think we still can get closer, get a high-caliber reliever who can help us.
Journalist: The WBC is just around the corner. When do you begin getting ready?
Nelson: From now. We start with a slow rhythm, and in the middle of late December we increase the rhythm and the way of getting ready. In early January, we should be in shape, if you want to play in the winter leagues, too.
Arving: You have done a lot of community service for your hometown Las Matas de Santa Cruz. What do you have planned next?
Nelson: There are so many things, countless plans we have. They’re still dreams, and through my foundation, and with the help of companies like Microsoft, we’re going to try to accomplish these dreams.
Journalist: And the type of help you’re giving away now?
Nelson: My foundation is planning to give away food, and eventually, clothes and beds. Right now it’s a little difficult to give away the beds because we can give them a bed, but it could just rain again on the bed and ruin it. But our priority is giving out the food and clothes, to make sure people have at least that.
Journalist: How much are you going to miss David Ortíz?
Nelson: Not only me, he's like a father to all of us, a brother, a mentor who helps us in hard times, he's always there, and that’s worthy of admiration. Not only us as Latinos, but all of MLB is going to miss the presence of David Ortíz as a symbol of the league. But as I've been said before, there'll be a lot of pitchers who will feel happy about his retirement.
Journalist: You have three straight seasons of reaching 40+ homers; could we say you’re Mr. Consistency in MLB?
Nelson: Well, personally, I wouldn’t call myself that. I think that when you stay humble and the numbers you put up are not so good, you always try to improve and strive to get better every day. I used to say I like training with the guys who are looking to get signed because no one has more hunger than these players. It’s good, sometimes, not to forget where you came from and how much effort it took to get you where you are, to keep you working hard.