2/19/2014 3:31 P.M. ET
Back from hibernation, Andrus sporting beard
By T.R. Sullivan / MLB.com
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- A photo-copied drawing of Abraham Lincoln was hanging from Elvis Andrus' locker when he showed up in the clubhouse on Wednesday. There was also a one-word editorial on what someone thought of Andrus' new beard.
It was not a positive review, but Andrus doesn't mind that his beard is being compared to the 16th President of the United States.
"It's good to be compared to a president," Andrus said. "It's a little love from my teammates. It's a beard, it's not going to bother me, a bunch of jokes. It's a good thing, guys having fun."
Andrus grew the beard because he wasn't playing winter ball in Venezuela. It's the first time he has ever skipped playing in the winter.
"I would cut my beard if it were hot," Andrus said. "But I stayed the whole offseason in Dallas, and it was really cold. When it is really cold, you have to keep as many hairs as you can on your body."
More significant than the beard is not playing winter ball. Andrus did so at the club's request. The Rangers wanted him to take the time off and rest his body.
"It felt like [the offseason] was twice as long," Andrus said. "But I feel good. I feel rested. I feel a lot of energy."
Texas' DH for now, Moreland deflects trade rumors
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Mitch Moreland discovered one thing this winter.
"You can find out a lot on Twitter," Moreland said.
Social media has become the preferred method of spreading trade rumors, and Moreland's name was prominent this winter after the Rangers acquired Prince Fielder. But Moreland is here in camp and ready to do whatever the club needs. Most likely, he will be the Rangers' primary designated hitter while getting occasional time at first base and the outfield.
But there is still uncertainty, only because Nelson Cruz remains unsigned as a free agent. The Rangers haven't completely ruled out bringing Cruz back, but that would likely be on just a one-year deal, and the price will likely have to come down before anything happens. It might be something that is considered in mid-March if Cruz is still unsigned. Right now, Moreland is Texas' DH.
"I get to play baseball and I'm happy to be with the Rangers," Moreland said. "If something happens, I have to accept it. It's part of it. You've got to be ready for whatever happens. Right now, I'm focused on getting better and helping this team win."
Scheppers downplays severity of back spasms
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Rangers pitcher Tanner Scheppers remains sidelined with spasms in his lower back, but he does not expect to be sidelined long. Scheppers felt something flare up while lifting weights on Tuesday, but said he was feeling much better on Wednesday. He will be examined on Thursday by Dr. Keith Meister, and the hurler's hoping to be cleared to throw again.
"It shouldn't be serious," Scheppers said. "It should be just a couple of days. I just want to make sure I don't change the way I throw."
Scheppers said he doesn't think the problem comes from trying to build up as a potential candidate for the rotation.
"If I did it pitching, it would be something to worry about," Scheppers said. "But I did it in the weight room doing a little too much. I just tweaked it."
Meister is also expected to check out Matt Harrison on Thursday. Harrison is sidelined with some stiffness in his neck and is taking a couple of days off from throwing. But the Rangers are expecting the lefty to be cleared by Meister.
Washington ready to deliver message to Rangers
SURPRISE, Ariz. -- All the Rangers' players have reported to camp, with the exception of pitcher Derek Holland. He remains behind in Arlington while still recovering from knee surgery.
Otherwise, the Rangers have everybody here in advance of the first full-squad workout on Thursday. Not everybody will be 100 percent healthy, but everybody will be able to listen to manager Ron Washington's first-day speech.
"The whole premise is still the same," Washington said. "Stay healthy, pull for your teammates and do what the game asks you to do. I can't re-invent anything. I try, but then it all comes back to simplicity."
Washington just has a few new faces in the crowd, including first baseman Prince Fielder, outfielders Shin-Soo Choo and Michael Choice, and catcher J.P. Arencibia. Right now, shortstop Elvis Andrus and designated hitter Mitch Moreland are the only two position players left from the 2010 World Series team.
"Baseball. ... You hope you can keep together a team that has been successful, but it doesn't happen," Washington said. "Our mindset is it doesn't matter who we have, we just go out and play baseball and win games. Those things happen in the game, but the games still have to be played."
• Pitcher Neftali Feliz did not throw batting practice as scheduled on Wednesday. Instead he did a 10-minute bullpen session, working on things with pitching coach Mike Maddux.
• Jurickson Profar is not throwing because of the tendinitis in his right shoulder, but he was still among the infielders who had early work with manager Washington.
• Pitcher Roman Mendez, who missed much of last season with a stress fracture in his right elbow, is being limited to two batting practices per week right now.
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields, and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.