Wednesday, September 4, 2013
Buzz: Playing it safe with Andrus
By Eric Gilmore
Special to ESPNDallas.com
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus will have to wait until at least Friday before he returns to the starting lineup.
Andrus has missed the past three games because of back spasms and will be out of the starting lineup again Wednesday afternoon when the Rangers play the Oakland Athletics in the finale of their three-game series. But for the first time during this stretch, Andrus will be "available" off the bench, Rangers manager Ron Washington said.
The Rangers have a day off Thursday before opening a three-game series Friday night at Anaheim against the Los Angeles Angels.
"He'll get another day today and another day tomorrow, and hopefully he'll be ready to go in Anaheim, Washington said.
Andrus said he thought he would be in the lineup Wednesday at designated hitter, but Washington said Tuesday that he wouldn't return to lineup until he's ready to play shortstop.
"I feel good today," Andrus said. "I feel pretty great. I feel at least I can DH today, but I guess they want to give me an extra day off plus we're off tomorrow, so it's going to be two days off in a row. I'm sure I'll be 100 percent Friday."
Andrus tweaked his back Friday then left Saturday's game against Minnesota in the first inning after running from first to third. He hasn't taken ground balls since Saturday, but he said his back felt "almost 100 percent" when he tested it Wednesday by bending over and stretching.
"We were supposed to take some (ground balls) today, but it's an early game," Andrus said. "But I feel great. I feel really good right now. I know that I can play, the way I feel right now. It's their choice, too. For them to give me an extra day off if I need it is going to be better for my health."
Good matchup for Moreland: There's something about facing the A's that brings out the best in Rangers first baseman Mitch Moreland. He hit his 10th career home run against Oakland on Tuesday night in the Rangers' 5-1 win. He has more home runs against the A's than any other team.
Moreland said he can't explain why he's hit so many home runs against the pitching-deep A's.
"I don't really feel any different," Moreland said. "I try to go up there and just try to get a good pitch to hit. I guess maybe I've squared up a few more against them. I'm not real sure what the numbers are. I try to go up there and hit something hard."
Moreland has hit seven of those 10 home runs at the cavernous O.co Coliseum, which will never be confused with a hitter's park.
"You just try to go up there and simplify it the best you can," Moreland said. "You don' really focus on the park, the team you're facing. It's just kind of you and the pitcher. You can't really control the results. You try to go up there and make something happen to help your team."
Moreland has been giving the Rangers plenty of home run help lately. He has five homers in his past 11 games and has gone 3-for-8 with two home runs in his past three games. For the season, he has a career high 22 home runs and 57 RBIs, another career high.
"I feel all right," Moreland said. "Going up there with my plan, just trying to get a good pitch to hit and see some pitches and kind of work the count a little bit. It's been going all right there lately."
Another start for Adduci: Three days after making his major-league debut against Minnesota and getting his first major-league hit, rookie Jim Adduci is back in the starting lineup. He started in left field on Sunday. This time he'll be the designated hitter.
"Giving him a chance," Washington said. "He can swing the bat. He can do some things. Just giving him a chance to contribute. It might be a couple days before you see him again, but I'm going to give him a chance to contribute."
Adduci singled in his first major-league at-bat. At 28 years and 109 days, Adduci was the oldest Rangers position player to make his big-league debut sine Kevin Richardson on Aug. 17, 2009.
"Overall it's still the same game that I've played for so long," Adduci said. "It's just the same approach that I'm going to go with at home plate. It was nice to be able to get in right away and also get that hit right away. Definitely enjoyable."
Short hops: Left fielder David Murphy is out of the lineup Wednesday but will start Friday night against the Angels, Washington said. Craig Gentry, coming off a two-hit game Tuesday against the A's, will start in left. ... Washington won his 600th game as Rangers manager Tuesday, extending his franchise record. ... Left-hander Martin Perez, who improved to 9-3 Tuesday night, leads all American League rookies in wins. Dodgers rookie Hyun-Jim Ryu has 13 wins, the most by a rookie in the major-leagues. ... According to Washington, switch-hitter Lance Berkman is limited from the right side because of a nagging left hip injury that had him on the disabled list from July 7 to Sept. 1. "If he had to hit right-handed, he could," Washington said.