Texas Rangers: Troy Tulowitzki

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."

Yu Darvish makes most of All-Star action

July, 15, 2014
Jul 15
MINNEAPOLIS – Yu Darvish trots out an eephus pitch a few times a year, but to do so to the major league batting leader in front of millions of people watching the All-Star Game on TV took a bit of gall.

[+] EnlargeYu Darvish
Jesse Johnson/USA TODAY SportsYu Darvish saw his first All-Star Game action in his third appearance, throwing a 1-2-3 third inning.
“It’s my strength,” Darvish joked through an interpreter.

Of course, Darvish has a few more “strengths” besides a 57-mph lob to take a batter by surprise, but he’s certainly willing to do whatever it takes to get somebody out.

He told reporters Monday he would throw one if he got in the game. He threw a slider for a ball, then pumped in a couple of 92-mph fastballs before breaking out the eephus to Troy Tulowitzki in the third inning. Tulowitzki took it for a ball and, two pitches later, lined to left for an out.

Darvish pitched a 1-2-3 inning, handing Dodgers outfielder Yasiel Puig one of his three strikeouts and inducing Paul Goldschmidt to line out as well. It was Darvish’s third All-Star bid, but his first time pitching in one. He was injured last season and available only to pitch in extra innings in 2012.

“I felt very honored,” Darvish said. “It ranks right up there. There are many great pitchers and I was able to pitch in the third spot.”

The Rangers' second representative, Adrian Beltre, entered as a defensive replacement in the top of the sixth and walked in his only at-bat in the bottom of the inning.

Gallo's big blast starts Double-A tenure

June, 10, 2014
Jun 10
Joey GalloBrian Westerholt/Four Seam Images/AP ImagesAt 6-foot-5 and 235 pounds, Joey Gallo certainly looks the part of a big league star.
FRISCO, Texas -- Texas Rangers third base prospect Joey Gallo is just 20 and has exactly one Double-A game under his belt, and already the exploits and expectations when it comes to his big bat are spreading like, well, injuries in Arlington.

OK, bad analogy.

But the point is that every coach, scout or player you talk to has a story to tell about the 6-foot-5, 235-pound infielder -- he’s listed at 205, but Gallo admits that was probably from his high school years -- selected in the supplemental first round (39th overall) of the 2012 draft. The same guy who leads all of minor league baseball with 62 home runs the past two seasons.

That’s why, when Gallo pummeled a fastball over a tree deep in foul territory at Dr Pepper Ballpark in his first at-bat Monday, you could imagine it one-hopping and hitting the apartment complex. If anyone is home and on the deck over there during batting practice, they'd better have a glove handy.

[+] EnlargeGallo
AP Photo/Brian Westerholt"I don't care about the stats too much right now," Joey Gallo said. "I just want to continue to develop."
And it's why, when Gallo stepped up to the plate with two on and two out in the bottom of the ninth of a tie game, the fans still in attendance thought something could happen, despite the fact that he was 0-for-4 with three consecutive strikeouts.

Jayce Tingler, the Rangers' minor league field coordinator, asked him a simple question as he grabbed his bat to head to the on-deck circle: "You going to do this, big boy?"

Gallo answered in the affirmative, then used his big bat for emphasis and crushed a 2-0 changeup high into the Texas sky, just shy of the scoreboard in left-center. It was an opposite-field shot that signaled his arrival in Double-A.

“It’s pretty huge," Gallo said of his first Double-A game. "I kind of knew going up to the plate. I said before I was taking pretty good swings. I ended up having a good opening debut.”

The walk-off start is only the latest ridiculous feat from the 20-year-old, who can't even celebrate it with a beer yet.

Joe Mikulik, who managed Gallo in Class A Myrtle Beach, talks about another opposite-field home run, this one hit over the scoreboard at what scouts call a pitcher’s park at the Pelicans’ home in South Carolina.

“That scoreboard is in left-center and is 400-plus [feet from home plate], and he hit it over that going the opposite way,” Mikulik said. “Other guys are smoking balls with everything they have, and it’s caught at the warning track.”

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Joey Gallo eager to learn at the right pace

June, 9, 2014
Jun 9
FRISCO, Texas -- Joey Gallo isn’t itching to work his way southwest toward Arlington any time soon.

For a 20-year-old prospect on the fast track toward the big leagues -- he’s already at Double-A Frisco before the halfway point of his second year in professional baseball -- he’s quick to point out he doesn’t have it all figured out yet.

“Obviously, I shouldn’t be in Arlington right now,” Gallo said to a handful of media in Frisco to see his Double-A debut. “I have a lot to work on and that’s why I’m here still and we’ll see how I handle Double-A. I have a lot of adjustments to make up here and hopefully I can make them quick.”

If the Rangers injuries have Gallo readjusting his timetable for arriving in the big leagues, he’s not letting on.

“Maybe some time next year,” Gallo said.

Gallo will start at third base and bat fifth in the lineup tonight, his first action in Frisco. He hit .323 for Myrtle Beach in the Carolina League and had 21 homers, tied for the most in all of professional baseball. He led the league in RBIs (50), runs scored (53), on-base percentage (.463), slugging (.735) and walks (51).

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Colby Lewis
10 5.18 133 170
BAA. Beltre .324
HRA. Beltre 19
RBIA. Beltre 77
RA. Beltre 79
OPSA. Beltre .879
ERAC. Lewis 5.18
SOY. Darvish 182