MLB teams must hire full-time Spanish translators for 2016

All 30 Major League Baseball clubs have received a joint directive requiring them to hire full-time Spanish translators for the 2016 season in conjunction with a new program negotiated between the commissioner's office and the players' union, multiple baseball officials told ESPN on Tuesday.

While some big-league clubs already have full-time translators on staff, others routinely rely on coaches or other uniformed personnel to serve as interpreters for Spanish-speaking players who are not well-versed in English during media obligations.

The new initiative, known as the "Spanish-language translator program,'' was intended to make the same opportunities available to players on all 30 clubs.

The full-time translators are expected to be in place by Opening Day and will be employees of the individual clubs -- not Major League Baseball.

According to MLB figures, nearly 25 percent of players on 2015 Opening Day rosters came from primarily Spanish-speaking countries. The Dominican Republic led the way with 83 players, followed by Venezuela (65), Cuba (18), Puerto Rico (13), Mexico (9) and Colombia (4).