Rangers notes: No worries about Elvis Andrus’ offensive struggles

Posted Saturday, Apr. 20, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Numbers would suggest Elvis Andrus is struggling at the plate. He went into Saturday’s game hitless in his last nine at-bats and stretched that to 0 for 13 after an 0 for 4 night. He is now batting .143 over his last nine games.

But numbers don’t tell the story, manager Ron Washington said.

“Elvis has been stinging the baseball,” Washington said. “I don’t want him to change anything because once that starts finding holes, that’s going to come in droves. He’s not in a slump. He’s just not finding holes. He’s smoking the baseball.”

Andrus has hit into his fair share of tough outs of late. He had two on Friday night, a groundout ripped right at the shortstop in the third inning and a comebacker that the pitcher fielded cleanly in the fifth.

Andrus was the only starter who didn’t record a hit Friday, but there is no concern level with the Rangers’ No. 2 batter.

“It’s going to happen; that’s baseball,” Andrus said. “The offense will come through. We just have to worry about winning games right now.”

Grimm ready

Justin Grimm didn’t have the type of start he wanted to in his season debut April 11 against Seattle. He needed 92 pitches to get through four innings, allowing two runs on five hits with three walks.

Grimm said it comes down to his mindset and attacking hitters.

“Just have to attack the zone with three to four pitches and go after it,” Grimm said.

Ron Washington said he spoke with Grimm during his last start about throwing strikes instead of trying to get big-league hitters to chase pitches out of the zone.

“He’s got to start fighting the opponents and trusting his stuff,” Washington said. “He has the best defense, I think, in the American League behind him. Put the ball in play and let whatever happens happen.”

Injured ’11 class

The top two draft picks from the 2011 draft will miss the rest of the season. Outfielder Zach Cone, the 37th overall pick, underwent surgery for a torn left Achilles’ tendon last week, and left-hander Kevin Matthews, the 33rd overall pick, will have surgery Monday to remove a bone spur in his shoulder.

Cone was batting .308 with three runs and two doubles at High A Myrtle Beach but suffered the injury on April 12.

“It’s unfortunate that he’ll miss a year of at-bats from a development standpoint, but it should be a full recovery from physical standing,” Rangers general manager and president of baseball operations Jon Daniels said.

Matthews had not pitched in a game this season and has a 3.77 ERA over 31 games, including 23 starts, over two professional seasons.

“In some ways, this might be a blessing in disguise for Matthews,” Daniels said. “He’s struggled since we signed him, and this may be a significant reason why.... We’re hopeful he can get back to pitching the way that encouraged us to draft him.”

Briefly

• Officials from West have asked Rangers fans who attend today’s game and who wish to make a donation after Wednesday’s devastating explosion and fires to do so in the form of gift cards or cash. West officials have indicated there will be a long-term need for assistance to the city’s residents and that this is the best means for fans to help.

• Ron Washington on utility man Jeff Baker: “He’s doing a great job for us. He’s experienced in the role he’s playing and he doesn’t panic. It’s been awhile since we’ve had one of those guys playing a utility role.”

• Washington said Geovany Soto will start today at catcher, and he could get Leury Garcia a start at second or short.

• Lance Berkman has seven career home runs off Seattle starter Aaron Harang. That’s the most he has off any pitcher.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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