GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu, covered by more than two dozen media from his native Korea on Tuesday's Spring Training reporting day, said he's had an unexpected cultural coach -- third baseman, and Mexican native, Luis Cruz.
"He downloaded a Korean translation application and he texts me in Korean," said Ryu. "I had Mexican teammates last year, and it's easy to get to know them."
Ryu, speaking through an interpreter, said he hasn't advanced beyond one-word answers in English and hasn't begun English classes, but expects to soon. In the clubhouse, he said he is "humble, going straight to my locker and not making too much noise and sitting still."
He said he has communicated with countryman and Cincinnati Reds outfielder Shin-Soo Choo for tips on acclimating to Major League life, and Ryu acknowledged feeling "nervous and anxious" about his new challenge.
Ryu, listed at 6-foot-2 and 230 pounds, said he's lost eight pounds in the 10 days he's been in Arizona by staying away from cheeseburgers.
"No In-N-Out," he said, "but I will as soon as camp is over."
Ryu also declined an invitation to join Team Korea if it advances to the semifinals of the World Baseball Classic.
"It's really flattering, but I feel it's wrong, it ruins team chemistry for one who isn't practicing to join at the end," he said. "It's not fair to the others. I appreciate it, but I kindly defer."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.