Pinch me! Elly learning Japanese to speak with Shohei

July 9th, 2024

was just chosen for his first All-Star Game. So what is the Reds' superstar shortstop most looking forward to when the best of the American and National Leagues gather in Arlington on July 15?

"I'm learning Japanese to talk to Shohei," De La Cruz responded when asked that question on Sunday after being named to the team. He was, of course, referring to .

Of all the things to do at your first All-Star Game, that's quite an homage to the Dodgers superstar, who will be starting at DH for the NL team next week. And the fact that De La Cruz said it in English, which is not even his first language, made it all the more impressive. A 5-tool player and now a 3-language linguist?

The Dominican native has expressed fascination with the Japanese superstar before. Last year, when the Reds visited Anaheim and Ohtani was still with the Angels and landed on second base, De La Cruz jokingly pinched him to make sure the larger-than-life Ohtani was, in fact, real.

So now one of the All-Star storylines next week will be when De La Cruz and Ohtani meet up, both wearing the same uniform and perhaps speaking the same language.