Dygestile-Therrien: 3 pitches, 3 languages

Revue de Web

By Alexis Brudnicki, Canadian Baseball Network, June 17, 2012

Jesen Dygestile-Therrien CLEARWATER, Fla. – He’s already impressed his teammates.

Entering his first full season of pro ball, Jesen Dygestile-Therrien has already made his mark.

Photo ci-dessus : Jesen Dygestile-Therrien (Montreal, Que.) pitched for the Academie Baseball Canada, the Canadian Junior National Team and was drafted by Philadelphia Phillies scout Alex Agostino (Montreal, Que.). Now he’s off conquering the minors and the world on languages. (Photos: Alexis Brudnicki)

It may not be the right-hander’s velocity, pitch movement or command that his teammates are talking about, but he hasn’t disappointed in those categories either.

As the extra pitchers, those who pitched the day before or will pitch the next, watch from the seats behind home plate at Bright House Field while their teammates take the diamond in an extended spring training game, the guy on the mound isn’t the one garnering the most attention.

Dygestile-Therrien walks by and a teammate starts to whisper interesting facts about the native of Montreal.

“He’s only 19,” another Philadelphia Phillies farmhand said. “He came here and in three months, he’s pretty much learned how to speak fluent Spanish. He can talk to all the Spanish guys on the team and hang out with them.”

The now-pretty-much-fluent Spanish speaker is all the more impressive to his teammates because they know – or at least this one did – that Dygestile-Therrien didn’t even speak English a few years ago. Baseball broadened his lingual horizons, starting during his time with the junior national team.

“I learned English my first year with Team Canada,” Dygestile-Therrien said in March, despite his reluctance at the time to do an English interview for fear of embarrassing himself. “I learned mostly by talking with the other players. We have English classes in Montreal, but they weren’t really serious.

“I was on Team Canada and I couldn’t even speak one word in English. Now I can have a whole conversation with someone.”

Dygestile-Therrien never showed any sense of fear, despite all of the obstacles that he was facing. The young pitcher relied completely on his baseball ability, and it never failed him.

In a similar situation a long, long time ago, was Toronto Blue Jays utility infielder Omar Vizquel. During a school visit in May, the major league veteran told a classroom full of students how difficult it is to play ball in a place where you don’t speak the language.

“It took a lot of courage,” Vizquel said. “Because I came here and I didn’t know how to speak the language; I didn’t know how to speak English. It was hard to adjust to the customs; everybody spoke English and I was kind of lost. So I forced myself to learn to speak a different language, to try to understand what the coaches were telling me.

“I had to compete with everybody else. It’s hard to come from a different country and try to be successful because you’ve got so many things against you. You don’t know what they’re talking about and you need to make it on your own really. It’s difficult, but you like to compete; you like the competition, you like to get better every day, baseball is a good game to do that.”

If you’re Dygestile-Therrien, baseball is also a good game to hone your English skills and to start to become trilingual. Only a short couple of months after his reluctance to interview in English, the right-handed hurler is now proud of what he’s been able to accomplish.

“I hope you can tell that it’s getting a little bit better,” he said of his English.

The 19-year-old has also impressed those around him in his ability to stay positive all the time, an attribute that hasn’t withered at all, even in experiencing the grind of extended spring training for the first time.

“I’m the kind of guy who’s always got a smile on my face,” Dygestile-Therrien said. “It’s a dream every day just to be playing baseball. This is a dream for every player to be doing what I’m doing so I try to have a smile all the time. Baseball is a game and it’s always fun.”

The young righty was ready for what the beginning of this season had to offer after spending his winter working out with fellow Montreal natives New York Yankees catcher Russell Martin, former Boston Red Sox farmhand Josue Peley, Atlanta Braves farmhand Frank LaFreniere and New York Mets prospect Jean Luc Blaquiere.

“They told me that it was going to be hard and that a lot of players were going to be here,” Dygestile-Therrien said. “But everybody has the talent to be here so it’s fun to work out with them and to get ready for the season.”

Everything that Dygestile-Therrien has learned, he wants to continue to pass along to future players. Now one year after being drafted in the 17th round by Philadelphia, he is hopeful that his experience can help his even-younger Canadian friends and former teammates as they make their decisions.

“One piece of advice that I would say to them is to be ready during the off-season and to work hard,” he said. “All of them have the talent to be here. Obviously they have the talent because they got drafted, but I’ve played with them. They were already ready when I played with them. If they just keep working hard it’s going to be fine.”

Dygestile-Therrien hopes that his Team Canada teammates will join him in the ranks of pro ball, someday if not now, and that they will have as much fun as he’s been having.

“It’s a privilege for us to be Canadian and to be here in Florida playing baseball every day.”

Revue de presse publiée par Jacques Lanciault.

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