Thursday, April 26, 2012
Elvis Andrus at 51 straight errorless games
By David Stein
ARLINGTON, Texas -- Elvis Andrus has been more than good on defense this season -- he has basically been perfect.
The young shortstop hit a milestone with his club-record 51st consecutive game without an error dating back to last season in the Rangers' 7-3 win over the Yankees on Wednesday.
Andrus has been perfect with the glove through 82 chances in 18 starts this season.
"Right now I see the ball super slow," Andrus said. "I can see my rhythm. I can see the bounces of the ball. That has been the big key for me. Just to simplify my routine."
It sounds like a small change, but the difference has been huge.
Andrus' 25 errors last season were more than any other MLB shortstop except the Chicago Cubs' Starlin Castro.
"The last two months of last season, I really felt my rhythm back," Andrus said. "I really felt everything went back to what I wanted it to be."
Before the Rangers' series finale against the Yankees on Wednesday, Andrus said he is simply feeling it this season.
"You anticipate ground balls, you start seeing it longer, and you can get to more balls," Andrus said. "Your range gets higher. That's the way I feel right now."
Detroit's Jhonny Peralta is the only other shortstop without an error this season.
"I think that's been one of the things that I have to be more proud that I did over the last three years. I continued to work," Andrus said.
Michael Young, who won the 2008 Gold Glove Award at shortstop, took it a lot further.
"Elvis has taken upon himself to make himself one of the best defenders in the league," Young said. "I don't see a better defensive shortstop in the league than Elvis."
Second baseman Ian Kinsler didn't seem to disagree.
"He is definitely talented defensively. No question about that," Kinsler said. "Since the first time he got here, he just continues to get better.”
Manager Ron Washington, who said he doesn't look at errors much, said he has been more impressed with Andrus' consistency.
"I'm seeing professional fielding. That's what I'm seeing," Washington said. "He's fielding a routine ball. He's making the plays in the hole. He's making the slow rollers. He's consistent with his throwing. He's getting his feet in position consistently."
It's hard to complain about having one of the best defensive shortstops in baseball, but the youngster has struggled at the plate. His average has climbed over the past two weeks, but he is still hitting .239 this season, including an abysmal .176 at home.