Aguilar Adusts On And Off The Field





CLEVELAND First baseman Jesus Aguilar did not speak a word of English when he signed with the Indians as a minor league free agent out of Venezuela 2007.
Like many Latin American players coming to the United States for the first time, the language, customs and food were very different than those back home.

"People would talk to me and I would just freeze like, 'What are trying to tell me?' I just didn't understand," said Aguilar, who spent a majority of this season at high Class A Carolina before a late-season promotion to Double-A Akron. "It's really hard at first for every Latin player that comes here to play, but you learn."

Aguilar joked that he learned how to say, "Number two combo, please," pretty quickly to ensure he wouldn't starve regardless of where he was playing. But he was also pleasantly surprised to find his new American roommates and teammates willing to be helpful language instructors.

Aguilar took English classes in rookie ball to help lay the foundation for a second language. Now, he understands English a majority of the time and can speak it pretty well during a conversation.

Having hurdled the language barrier and in the midst of a steady climb in the Indians minor league system, Aguilar has enjoyed a breakout season in 2012. He hit .277/.365/.454 with 12 home runs and 58 RBIs for Carolina before batting .292/.402/.500 in 20 games with Akron.

Aguilar, 23, has improved his footwork at first base while maintaining pop at the plate.

"Offensively, his power's the other way to right center—he can pull a ball," Akron manager Chris Tremie said. "He's continued to work on identifying breaking balls and off-speed pitches and staying back. But there's a lot of potential there, a lot of power potential . . .  There's a pretty big ceiling with him."

WIGWAM WISPS

• The Indians claimed lefthander Scott Maine off waivers from the Cubs and optioned him to Triple-A Columbus. The 27-year-old went a combined 1-1, 4.79 in 21 relief appearances over three stints with the Cubs this season.

• The last group of Triple-A players who were promoted to Cleveland during September callups included Maine, lefthander David Huff, infielder Cord Phelps and infielder/outfielder Vinny Rottino.