ANAHEIM -- Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus was in a playful mood before Thursday night's game against the Angels, acting the role of class clown and drawing rounds of laughter throughout the visitors' clubhouse at Angel Stadium.
He borrowed a microphone and did an interview in something resembling Japanese with Yu Darvish as the starting pitcher lounged on a couch. The interpreter finally gave Darvish's response: "I'm pitching tonight. Leave me alone." Andrus kept the room in laughter, moving on to other players with his instigating ways.
"Elvis likes to have fun," veteran Michael Young said, watching with amusement from a corner of the clubhouse. "He's as good as I've seen with the off/on switch. When it's time to play, he's ready. He loves to compete. He'll have a bad at-bat and get fired up, but it'll last about 10 seconds. He moves on great.
"What people don't realize is how big a kid he is. When he starts to develop, he'll be wearing out the gaps. He'll probably never be a 20-25 home run guy, but with his natural swing path, he'll hit a lot of doubles and triples and knock in a lot of runs.
"Elvis is a great player -- and a great teammate. He speaks two languages and keeps everybody loose. He talks to every guy on the team."
Surrounded by MVP candidates and high-profile veterans, Andrus sometimes gets lost in the shadows. But the Rangers understand his value fully.
"It's just a matter of being in his fourth year in the league," Young said. "He's one of the best shortstops in the game, especially when you consider that he's getting better offensively. He has great instincts for the game. He's aggressive but knows when to take a step back.
"I think he's going to be a leader for a long time. He's that kind of player and person."
Andrus is hitting .291 with a .353 on-base percentage and .388 slugging percentage. He has 29 doubles, nine triples and three homers, driving in 58 runs while scoring 80. He has 20 steals.
Rangers sending Hamilton back to Texas for tests
ANAHEIM -- Josh Hamilton was back in uniform on Thursday, giving it a test in batting practice to see whether he has recovered sufficiently from a sinus infection to play in the series finale against the Angels at Angel Stadium.
The determination was made that the symptoms remain, and Hamilton would return to Texas to see the team's doctors. The Rangers open a three-game series in Seattle on Friday night.
Hamilton played three innings with two at-bats in Tuesday night's series opener, left the game and the stadium and spent Wednesday seeing "every doctor known to man to rule everything out." An ear, nose and throat specialist prescribed antibiotics, and Hamilton was hoping they'd take effect quickly enough to allow him to play.
"Everybody in my family's been sick," Hamilton said. "The last five or six days I've been battling something. Every time I get sick it turns into a sinus infection, and that causes me to get off kilter, off balance. If your head's a little stopped up, you can get a little starry-eyed, dizzy.
"It's not a big deal. I had a little of that earlier in the year."
Hamilton, under the watchful eyes of manager Ron Washington and his staff, was getting ready to stretch, warm up and take some swings. Adrian Beltre, recovering from non-diagnosed abdominal pain, was able to convince the manager he could return to the lineup.
"If I feel I can play, I'll play," Hamilton said, before being ruled out. "I've played through sinus stuff before. This time of the season, it matters tremendously. If we have somebody healthy who can run balls down -- [Craig] Gentry, [Leonys] Martin -- get 'em out there. I don't want to misjudge a ball out there. These are too big of games."
Hamilton stressed that there's nothing wrong with his vision.
"My eyesight is good," he said. "Got that checked and it's 20/15. It used to be 20/10 but I'm getting older."
Pain not fully gone, but Beltre back in lineup
ANAHEIM -- Adrian Beltre passed a pregame test on Thursday night and was a late entry in the Rangers' lineup against the Angels, batting fourth and serving as the designated hitter.
Ian Kinsler remained in the leadoff spot and was moved from DH to second base. Rookie Jurickson Profar, scheduled to play second and bat ninth, was scratched.
Beltre was the DH in Tuesday night's series opener. He watched the Rangers beat the Angels, 6-2, on Wednesday night from his home in Southern California, experiencing a cramping-like sensation in his abdominal area. A battery of tests didn't determine the cause of the pain, the indication being, according to Beltre, that it was "something inside my intestines."
Asked about watching his team on TV, Beltre said: "It was boring."
Still feeling some pain and having lost some weight because eating exacerbated the discomfort, Beltre was back in uniform on Thursday. He entered manager Ron Washington's office "to plead my case" about getting back in the lineup.
Washington took a wait-and-see attitude, wanting to see for himself that Beltre was in condition to swing the bat.
"They've been running tests the last couple days -- X-rays, MRIs, scans," Beltre said. "So far they can't find what it is. It's similar to a cramp, just painful. It's been going on since Sunday."
Beltre does not believe it is related to a near-fatal appendix attack requiring two surgeries in 2001, the first procedure in his native Dominican Republic, the second in Los Angeles.
The doctors checked all the pictures, ruling out kidney stones and gall bladder infections. "So far they're all negative," he said. "Now they think it's something inside my intestines."
Beltre has one more test set for Friday morning. "I'm forcing myself to eat," he said. "When I eat, it's more painful."
At least he didn't have to watch Thursday night's game on TV.
The Rangers came into Thursday night's game three games ahead of the Yankees in the race for best record in the American League and 3 1/2 games ahead of the A's in the AL West after Oakland avoided a sweep in Detroit with a 12-4 victory. Texas manager Ron Washington wasn't aware of Oakland's win earlier in the day. "I've been listening to my music," Washington said in his office. "You don't see the TV on, do you?"
Washington is pulling hard for Reds manager Dusty Baker to make a full recovery after being hospitalized with a heart condition. "Dusty Baker, when I first got to the big leagues, was my mentor," Washington said of his former Dodgers teammate. "Jeffrey Leonard and I came up in 1977, and Dusty showed us the ropes around the league. We've been friends ever since. I talk to him every now and then, asking for advice. I'm certainly hoping for the best for Dusty."
Roy Oswalt (sore elbow) was satisfied with a 45-pitch bullpen session before Thursday night's game and is cleared to rejoin the bullpen.
Lyle Spencer is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.