Young Reds Shortstop Elly De La Cruz Finds Inspiration and Guidance from Friend and Superstar Juan Soto

GOODYEAR, Ariz. – Young Reds shortstop Elly De La Cruz appears to have his offseason priorities in order as he heads into his second season. He took time to have fun but also put in some much-needed work in an effort to improve his hitting.
A key bridge for the balance between the personal and work life of the 22-year-old? None other than Juan Soto.

The Yankees’ superstar outfielder and De La Cruz practically grew up together in the Dominican Republic, both developing as teenagers at the Niche Baseball Academy.

In December, the two were together in Miami shortly after Soto, 25, was traded from the Padres to the Yankees. They watched the Dolphins play the Titans on Monday Night Football from a private suite at Hard Rock Stadium. Back in their country, the two also trained together and batted.

“The biggest thing we were working on was just hitting off the tee and in the opposite direction,” De La Cruz said Wednesday, through translator Jorge Merlos.

That’s in addition to the work De La Cruz has done under Reds hitting coach Joel McKeithan. Manager David Bell had no problem with De La Cruz receiving outside help from someone like Soto.

By: Mark Sheldon

2024-02-15 16:14:27
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