Andrus strives to emulate Jeter, his idol

July, 30, 2014
Jul 30
11:25
AM CT
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Derek Jeter will make his final appearance in Texas as a professional baseball player Wednesday night.

Jeter has morphed into a beloved figure during his 19-year career with the New York Yankees, and there is one man who will take special notice of the pregame ceremony at Globe Life Park and how he handles himself: Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus.

[+] EnlargeDerek Jeter and Elvis Andrus
AP Photo/Ralph LauerRangers shortstop Elvis Andrus looks up to Derek Jeter for his professionalism on and off the field.
Andrus doesn't wear No. 2 like Colorado's Troy Tulowitzki does. He's not a kid from Jersey who gets wide-eyed just talking to Jeter like is the case for the Angels' Mike Trout.

Andrus is a 25-year old shortstop from Maracay, Venezuela, who idolized Jeter for his professionalism on and off the field. He tries Jeter's signature jump throw from short when the moment fits during games.

If Jeter is the symbol for what a baseball shortstop is supposed to look like, then Andrus wants to be that.

"I think he's a perfect role model for any player, the way he handles himself on the field, especially the way he handles himself away from the field," Andrus said. "He's never been in trouble, he knows how to handle media, especially playing in New York. I can only image how much pressure he has every single day. He's a guy as soon as he steps on the field you can see how professional he is and the thing is everybody on the field respects him, and that's something really hard to earn."

From an intimate space, Andrus learned more about the game playing beside the now-retired Michael Young and Omar Vizquel. Each told him about leadership in a clubhouse and becoming a positive influence on the field.

You see Andrus' attempts at this every night. Any pop fly that hangs over the shallow portions of left field turn into a sprint between Andrus and the left fielder.

Andrus believes he's responsible for handling that.

While he might defer to veteran third baseman Adrian Beltre on pop flies hovering near third, it is Andrus who has emerged as the future of this infield.

Yes, there are younger players waiting for their chance in this organization. Yu Darvish and Beltre are the leading men for this franchise.

But Andrus is trying to make this his team, and particularly turn into the captain of the infield and one day perhaps be the leader of his team like Jeter in New York.

"That's what you strive to be," manager Ron Washington said. "It's not numbers you're striving to be, it's the way you carry yourself. It's character. [Jeter's] personality, his attitude, his commitment to the [game]. Having him around, that makes people realize their goals. That's intangibles. Those are things you can't teach. You can't buy that anywhere. I don't care how much money you got."

Andrus remembers meeting Jeter for the first time at the 2010 All-Star Game. Andrus didn't want to sweat Jeter, so he tried to be smooth.

"I was OK, 'That's my idol, I don't want to push him, bother him,' but he was super cool," Andrus said. "He's a guy you could ask him whatever, and he's willing to help you. No matter who you are, whether you're a rookie or a veteran, he's going to treat you the same way. And that's what you learn from guys, and no matter how big of a baseball player he is, the way he handles himself is he stays humble all the time."

Jeter said he's fortunate and humbled by the pregame ceremonies and the chats he conducts with teammates and players of opposing teams. He knows there are young players trying to be like him.

"I got a chance to play against him," Jeter said of Andrus. "He's fun to watch and play against, and to watch him play, see him develop, see him improve and get to know him a little bit. Talk to him, and it's one of the things I enjoy doing, especially at All-Star Games. You get an opportunity to meet all sorts of personalities, and I've always enjoyed watching him play here in Texas."
Calvin Watkins joined ESPNDallas.com in September 2009. He's covered the Cowboys since 2006 and also has covered colleges, boxing and high school sports.

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TEAM LEADERS

BA LEADER
Adrian Beltre
BA HR RBI R
.324 19 77 79
OTHER LEADERS
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
WC. Lewis 10
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182