Saturday, July 16, 2011
Elvis Andrus rested, ready for second half
By Richard Durrett
SEATTLE -- Elvis Andrus got mentally and physically tired in 2010. And manager Ron Washington still hasn't forgotten it.
It's why the skipper has insisted that Andrus take more days off so far this season, with the hope that he'll have more energy down the stretch. Andrus hit just .247 in the second half of 2010 after batting .280 in the first half. He had a September to forget, hitting below the Mendoza line.
"Personally, I really learned from last year," Andrus said. "I learned how to handle myself and what I need to do to stay fresh. I really appreciate that he's helping me out by giving me the time and in the end, I think we'll see a difference. Last year, it was more mental. It was my first time that I had so many at-bats like that and so much playing time, and after your body gets that tired it comes into your mind. It was fatigue, and that influenced my game."
Andrus is hitting .286 this season and has become one of the club's best baserunners. He has 26 stolen bases and has been caught just four times. But he's also committed a team-high 15 errors, one fewer than he had all of last year. Getting the most out of his at-bats and playing better defense is his focus for the second half.
"I want to keep getting on base for sure," Andrus said. "I don't want to take any at-bat for granted. Last year, I was trying to do different things in the second half like pull more balls and try to hit a homer too often (he didn't end up hitting any). I'm going to stick with my plan this year and stay within my game. If I do that, the stats will be fine.
"I also have to make the routine plays. When I was feeling good last year, it was simple. I'm trying to simplify things now. I'm worried too much about my feet. Just catch the ball and make a good throw. I'm not trying to think. I'm just getting the ball and throwing the ball. I don't care about how it looks, I just want to make the out. I was thinking too much when the ground ball was coming to me."
Washington has vowed to continue to get Andrus days off and let him rest. Just like he's done with most of his players. The manager sees a different in that everyone looks "fresher."
"The benefit is they have a little more energy," Washington said. "Sometimes one day where you don't have to come to the ballpark and figure out how you're going to beat someone, it can let you get energized. I think they've had more days off this year than last year because we weren't as deep as far as extra players go."