Elvis Andrus embraced his role as a mentor, even if it was just for a couple days.
The veteran Rangers shortstop and two-time All-Star spent two days with the Express this weekend as he continued to make his way back to the big leagues after breaking his elbow two months ago.
“It’s about passing it on,” he said. “The young guys always ask a lot of great questions. It’s always good to see that because that means they want to learn. It is a lot of fun for me. I don’t get tired of it. I want to get better every single day, but if I can help someone out, I’m all for it.”
In two games with Round Rock, Andrus went 0-for-5 with a trio of strikeouts and two walks. He spent the first five days of his rehab with the Double-A Frisco RoughRiders and finished 1-for-18 with one run scored and a pair of strikeouts.
He said he was treating this assignment like spring training and working on getting his timing back and technical side of the game more than anything.
Andrus isn’t the first high-profile player to come through the Round Rock dressing room this season. Rangers second baseman Rougned Odor played three games earlier this season and two-time Cy Young winner Tim Lincecum was with the team for just under a month.
But Andrus has a different type of respect.
“Everybody in this clubhouse knows who Elvis Andrus is,” Express manager Jason Wood said. “These guys are trying to follow in his footsteps. He has fun playing baseball and wears off on some of these young guys. Just the pedigree that he brings to the clubhouse is something they’re fond of.”
Andrus fractured a bone in his right elbow on April 11 with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning against the Los Angeles Angels.
He’s spent 10 years in the big leagues and been away from the Rangers’ active roster only one time when he went on the three-day paternity list for when his son was born in July of last season.
“The first two weeks were miserable,” he said. “After that, I was able to relax and enjoy my family. I enjoyed the time that you don’t normally get doing the season. I’m not where I wanted to be for sure, I haven’t played for two months. Those five days in Frisco helped me to get myself in shape of playing daily.”
He will return to a Texas team struggling to stay afloat in the brutal American League West. Texas is almost 20 games back in the Wild Card standings and has the fourth-worst run differential in Major League Baseball.
Andrus is optimistic and hopes the Rangers can close out the first half of the season strong before making a second-half push like they have in the past. The team has finished above .500 in six of the last eight seasons.
“We’re fighting,” Andrus said. “They’re working hard. When I was there, I could see them working hard every day. That’s all you can do when you’re in the big leagues. We believe that as a team. Baseball is crazy and you never know what’s going to happen at the end.”