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Saturday, April 20, 2013
Buzz: Andrus isn't worried about hard luck

By Todd Wills

ARLINGTON, Texas -- Elvis Andrus isn't worried. His manager isn't worried. No one is worried.

So you shouldn't be, either.

Andrus, who is hitless in his past nine at-bats coming into Saturday night's game, is going to start hitting. In fact, he's been hitting the ball as hard as any Rangers player going back to the start of the last road trip in Seattle.

The problem is Andrus has only five hits in his past 31 at-bats. Going back further, he has nine hits in 50 at-bats. Andrus' batting average is at .209 entering Saturday's game.

His tough-luck stretch includes another frustrating at-bat from Friday -- a scorching line drive in the third inning that popped out of Mariners shortstop Robert Andino's glove. The ball was hit so hard that Andino had time to recover and nip the speedy Andrus at first base.

"Elvis has been stinging the baseball and getting nothing for it," Rangers manager Ron Washington said. "So I don't see where he's in a skid. I don't want him to change anything because when that starts finding holes, it's coming to come in droves."

Andrus said he was laughing as he went back into the field after the Andino play. He also hit a rocket back to the pitcher's mound for an out later in the game.

"There's nothing I can do about it," Andrus said. "Just keeping hitting that way.

"You get mad a little bit," he said. "You just have to keep swinging. They're going to fall eventually."

Andrus' offensive hard luck hasn't carried over into the field. Andrus hasn't made an error in 16 games. He made two brilliant plays up the middle in Friday's win.

"I learned a long time ago that offense is offense and defense is defense," Andrus said. "Especially when you're not hitting. I always say when I'm not hitting I better stop everything [in the field]."

Baker brings experience: Manager Ron Washington is thrilled with the job utility man Jeff Baker has done so far. Baker had a home run in Friday's 7-0 victory over Seattle, giving the Rangers their first run of the game.

Baker can play both corner outfield positions and also made a start at first base on Friday. More importantly, he's experienced in playing a bench role, something Washington appreciates, being that guy for several years with the Minnesota Twins. Baker is batting .308 in 13 at-bats.

"He doesn't panic," Washington said. "It's been a while since we've had one of those kind of guys playing a utility role. It's comforting that I understand what that role is, and it's nice to have a guy who has played that role and was successful. We made a nice choice in bringing him on."

Washington said Baker has been mentoring rookie Leury Garcia, the Rangers' utility infielder. First-base coach Dave Anderson was also a key bench player during his career with the Los Angeles Dodgers and San Francisco Giants, which had made him a valuable mentor for Garcia as well.

2011 draft jinx: It's a tough time for first-round draft picks from the Rangers' 2011 draft class. Left-handed pitcher Kevin Matthews, taken with the 33rd pick, is out for the season because of a bone spur in his left shoulder and needs surgery. Matthews, who hasn't appeared in a game this season, will have surgery on Monday.

Outfielder Zach Cone, selected with the 37th overall pick, is out for the season after having surgery for a torn left Achilles tendon. The 23 year old was batting .308 with two doubles in seven games for Class A Myrtle Beach this season.

Berkman vs. Harang: Rangers designated hitter Lance Berkman has 15 hits against Seattle's Sunday starter, Aaron Harang, and seven of them are home runs. Berkman is batting a pedestrian .259 against Harang for 58 at-bats. "It's a statistical anomaly," Berkman said.

Darvish in good company: According to the Elias Sports Bureau, only three pitchers reached 10 career double-digit strikeout games in fewer starts than Yu Darvish -- Hideo Nomo (23), Dwight Gooden (24) and Bob Feller (27). Darvish did it in start No. 33.