Alumnus Manny Navarro hits it big as MLB translator

CPP alumnus Manny Navarro (’10, kinesiology) slid into his “dream job” as the Tampa Bay Rays’ Spanish interpreter where his primary duty is to translate for the team’s Spanish-only speaking players.

For more than three years, Navarro has interpreted everything from coaching instructions to television to phone and one-on-one interviews. With the Rays, however, Navarro’s job goes much further than just translation.

“Aside from being the team’s translator, I also throw batting practice, and assist the coaches with anything they need, and I also help hit ground balls during practices and warmups,” Navarro said. “I like to call myself a roaming assistant coach.”

After he finished his five years at CPP, Navarro held a career as a strength and performance coach at EM Speed and Power Training in San Diego, California. Soon after, he snagged a job throwing for batting practice after participating in a Tampa Bay Ray’s team tryout in July 2017.

Navarro throwing for batting practice. (Courtesy of Manny Navarro)

Navarro’s throwing ability helped him obtain his job. “I got found in SoCal throwing batting practice, and then they found out I also spoke Spanish,” Navarro said.

Batting practice is a process that involves throwing several pitches to batters before the game and during practice so the athletes can warm up their swings for the upcoming action. The coaching staff eventually discovered that Navarro is fluent in Spanish and made him an interim translator and batting practice thrower before sliding him to the official title as Spanish interpreter.

Last week, the Tampa Bay Rays contended for the 2020 World Series Championship against the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dodgers outlasted the Rays and defeated them 3-1 where it ended in a 4-2 deficit in game six.

Before the final game, Navarro mentioned that he would love to return to CPP to talk to the MLB fans on campus. Although it won’t be with a trophy in hand this time, he expressed joy and gratefulness for his time at CPP, and how it opened opportunities for his future.

Navarro enrolled at CPP after he graduated from Mount Carmel High School in his hometown of San Diego. During his tenure at CPP, he had no background in language interpretation outside of speaking Spanish among his family.

Navarro translating for World Series announcements. (Courtesy of Manny Navarro)

“I have a Mexican background,” Navarro said. “I grew up speaking Spanish in my household. I still talk to my parents in Spanish to this day. The position is under the communications or public relations department and I studied kinesiology, so I didn’t come into this with a PR background, so it began as a learning experience.”

Navarro chose his major while pursuing as spot on CPP’s baseball team. He obtained a spot with the Broncos in spring 2006 where he played infielder, alternating between shortstop and second base. He decided to redshirt, a process where a collegiate athlete takes a nonparticipation year to conserve NCAA eligibility, his first year and earned a spot on the field in spring 2007.

During his career at CPP, Navarro appeared in 37 games in 2007, 30 games in 2008 and nine games in 2009.

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