Andrus showing his potential in Minors
Shortstop could be ready for the big stage in a year or two
FRISCO, Texas -- Elvis Andrus celebrated his 20th birthday Tuesday with his mother and oldest brother in attendance at Double-A Frisco's Dr. Pepper Ballpark to see him play.Andrus, a native of Maracay, Venezuela, was happy to be reunited with his family -- even though they were hoping they might get to see him playing in a Major League venue. "About three months ago, my mom said, 'You know, when I get there, I don't want to go to Frisco, I want to go to Arlington,'" Andrus said with a laugh, wearing his ever-present grin. Andrus' mother isn't alone. The much-ballyhooed shortstop phenom has many wondering just how soon he can be in a Rangers uniform. However, Andrus, his family and others eager to see him in Arlington will have to be patient. Odds are, he'll be celebrating his 21st birthday before making his debut as a Ranger. After all, fresh out of his teenage years, Andrus is still learning to play the game. And those who saw Andrus on his birthday witnessed how much he's learned in his first full season in the Rangers organization. Andrus was 2-for-5 with a pair of singles to extend his hitting streak, which now sits at 14 games. His first single was pulled through the left side between the shortstop and third baseman. The second was a bunt single Andrus pushed to the right side between the pitcher and the first baseman to lead off the ninth inning with Frisco down a run. "He's always one of the first players our guys mention after leaving Frisco," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "He's the type of player you're naturally drawn to on the diamond with his physical skills and feel for the game." The only thing missing from Andrus' night was a stolen base, which he's compiled a total of 51 this season. Of course, also included in his stat line Tuesday was his 30th error of the season. "You talk about guys with a lot of range making more errors, but he usually makes those plays," Frisco manager Scott Little said. "He just makes silly errors when he forces throws now and then. He tries things here that he probably won't even attempt to do in the big leagues. You can't get away with them, number one, and this is the place where you learn what and what not to do." A defensive whiz before the season even started, most of Andrus' learning has come at the plate in 2008. Andrus entered the season with a career Minor League batting average of .266 over parts of three seasons. He appeared to be on his way to duplicating that average two months into the season when he was batting .268 for the RoughRiders. However, since returning from a finger injury on June 8, Andrus has begun to show his potential as an all-around shortstop, hitting .317 with four home runs and 46 RBIs.
|"He's a good baserunner and he's a good basestealer. He's learning to know when he gets a good jump."|
|-- Frisco manager Scott Little, on Elvis Andrus|
Shawn Shroyer is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.