June 06, 2017

PHILADELPHIA (AP) Phillies Hall of Fame third baseman Mike Schmidt says Philadelphia center fielder Odubel Herrera can be a team leader as he ''becomes more comfortable with the language.''

Schmidt drew criticism Tuesday for saying in an interview on 94 WIP-FM that Herrera's language barrier prevented him from being a player the Phillies can build their team around.

Herrera, a 25-year-old Venezuelan native, speaks to reporters through an interpreter. He isn't as comfortable doing interviews as some of his Spanish-speaking teammates.

Schmidt later clarified his remarks on Herrera, telling The Associated Press that, ''in the future, when he learns to communicate better, he can be anything he wants.''

An All-Star last season, Herrera plays with energy and emotion. But he can also irritate opponents when he flips his bat on fly outs and he has angered his manager for lack of hustle.


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