Texas Rangers: Good news on the desperately awaiting Elvis Andrus return
By Travis Koch
Elvis Andrus has returned to baseball activities for the Texas Rangers. The team desperately awaits his return to the everyday lineup, for a number of reasons.
As of Thursday, Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus had officially begun baseball activities. This news per MLB.com’s Jeff Arnold. Andrus played catch for the first time and minimally fielded ground balls.
It has been five weeks since Andrus was sidelined with a fractured ulna bone. As Rangers fans certainly recall, he was hit in the right elbow with a 98 mph fastball from Angel’s reliever Keynan Middleton. Given the way it looked live, a scheduled June 11th return is comforting.
Boy do the Texas Rangers need their star shortstop back. The Andrus injury, along with Adrian Beltre’s injuries, have left the team reeling for any sort of consistency. Defense has been a problem, offense has been a problem, and from the surface of things, leadership has lacked as well. Andrus and Beltre have still been around; however, neither being on the field undoubtedly places unneeded pressure on a rather young bunch.
The Rangers’ .978 fielding % is the worst in MLB. In Elvis Andrus’ absence, Jurickson Profar has taken over as the team’s primary SS. Profar is currently tied for 2nd in baseball with eight errors on the season. In fact, Profar has recorded as many or nearly as many errors in 11 fewer games than the three players tied or ahead of him in the statistic.
Texas’ former top prospect is not a bad fielder, but he’s also no longer a shortstop. Profar’s history of shoulder injuries limits his arm strength. Obviously, he is able to play shortstop, though, a healthy lineup would relegate him to second base or left field.
Point being, not having Elvis Andrus has placed player’s in unfair roles. The Texas Rangers simply are not equipped from an offensive or defensive standpoint to survive without Andrus and Beltre.
In addition, Joey Gallo’s recent comments are not helping defensive positioning either. When a reporter mentioned third base to him prior to Wednesday’s game in Seattle, Gallo stated:
"“I hate it. It’s my least favorite position now. I’ve played other positions, realized how bad third base can be on my body.”"
He went on to say he’d “rather catch”, but also that he would play third base if asked. It’s tough to see what the Rangers plans are for him defensively, now and in the future. He’s shown great versatility for a 6’5’’, 230 LB ballplayer, which is great. But Texas probably prefers he play 3B, at least periodically. After all, Gallo was drafted as a third baseman.
Ultimately, the returns of Elvis Andrus and Adrian Beltre will simplify things. They will make the team better and they will have everyday lineups back to normal (for what it’s worth).
Next: Texas Rangers: Evaluating GM Jon Daniels, Part 3
Frankly, the current on-field product is not pretty. Andrus and Beltre will certainly make it prettier. Plus, everyone will be more comfortable once the Rangers’ leaders come back. Hopefully Andrus returns on June 11th and hopefully Beltre returns when his DL stint is up—May 23rd.