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03/15/11 11:00 PM ET
Andrus brothers enjoy special day
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Julio Borbon, David Murphy and Elvis Andrus only played six innings in the field in Tuesday's exhibition game against the Dodgers. By the time the ninth inning rolled around, Borbon and Murphy were long gone.
Borbon was on the early bus headed back to Surprise and Murphy was probably in his car listening to music. Elvis? He had not left the building.
He was in the Rangers dugout with a big smile on his face. His older brother Erold was at the plate facing Dodgers reliever Ron Mahay. Erold lined a sharp single to left and Elvis went nuts in the dugout, a great ending to a momentous day for the Andrus family.
"We played with each other back home but this was the first time with the Rangers," Elvis said. "It was fun. Oh man, was it cool."
Erold was left on base. Mahay worked out of the inning to preserve the Dodgers' 7-6 victory. Another meaningless Cactus League game was over ... meaningless to everybody except two brothers who remain extremely close. They play on the same Winter League team in Venezuela but in the United States, their career paths have gone in opposite directions.
"This was great," Erold said. "I got a chance to play with my brother and get to be with the big league club. He is great, all the guys here are great. It's fun to play with guys who make you feel comfortable."
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This may have been the biggest moment in Andrus family history since two years ago when both brothers hit a home run in the finals of the Venezuelan Winter League, leading Navegantes del Magallanes to victory over Caracas.
"I hit a home run in the sixth and he hit one the next inning," Elvis said. "He had two men on base. I was leading off the inning. That was a great night. Our family was there, it was on national television and everything."
Elvis, 22, is in his third year with the Rangers. He was an All-Star last season and played in the World Series. Erold, four years older, is an outfielder who has never played in the big leagues despite having been in professional baseball for 10 years.
The Yankees did sign him out of Venezuela. He was later traded to the Rays but never made it past Double-A. He was with Montgomery in the Southern League in 2008, hitting .255 with seven home runs and 59 RBIs. He played the last two seasons in independent leagues before being signed by the Rangers as a Minor League free agent this winter.
But, being four years older than Elvis, he must have taught his All-Star brother everything he knows about baseball.
"No," Erold said. He wasn't smiling either.
"Heck no," Erold said. "He learned from my mistakes. He's got great talent. He has been in the big leagues for two years and I'm very proud of him. I'm happy to play with him.
"Even growing up, he always wanted to play with older players. He was always ready for the challenge. He was just like he is now; he was positive, he was always smiling and having fun. I always enjoyed the way he plays and I get more proud of him every day."
Elvis has a different take on what Erold has meant to his career.
"He means everything to me," Elvis said. "After he signed [with the Yankees], he was the reason I started to train really hard and get to the big leagues. He was my older brother and he was my idol, the one you're always talking about when you're growing up. I'm so glad to see him in the big leagues today.
"He was my inspiration. Last season, he lived with me for two months. After the games we would talk. If he saw something, he would point it out. We work out together ... he knows me better than anybody."
Erold is not in Major League camp. He is working out in Minor League camp. But the Rangers, if they are short on players, will bring over extras from the Minor League side to play the final few innings of the Cactus League games after the regulars are done for the day. Mike Olt and Jurickson Profar are among those who have had their turns. On Wednesday, Erold got his chance and made the most of it.
He still dreams of being in the Major Leagues and playing with his brother in a real game at the Ballpark in Arlington. He has had a rough time, but he keeps his dream alive.
"Sure ... I'm still young," Erold said. "I just play as best I can and hope I get a chance to play in the big leagues. To be with my little brother would be great."
On Wednesday, Elvis will be back in the Major League clubhouse. He will work out on Nolan Ryan Field and play in the Cactus League game against the Rockies that night. Erold will be in the Minor League clubhouse. He will work out on the back fields with dozens of other Minor Leaguers. There is no way of knowing if he'll ever be needed in another Cactus League game.
But Elvis and Erold Andrus were able to at least enjoy one special afternoon in Glendale, one they will not forget for a long time.