Rangers notes: Team will play it safe with Elvis Andrus’ back

Posted Wednesday, Sep. 04, 2013  comments  Print Reprints
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Elvis Andrus arrived at O.co Coliseum on Wednesday morning expecting to be in the Texas Rangers’ lineup after missing the previous four games because of tightness in his lower back.

Manager Ron Washington, though, had a different, more cautious plan for Andrus, whose return will have to wait until Friday at Anaheim.

An off day today allowed Washington to get Andrus an extra day to rest while missing only one more game. He was available off the bench, but Jurickson Profar made his fifth straight start at shortstop in the finale of a three-game series against Oakland.

“He’ll get another day today and another tomorrow, and he’ll be ready to go in Anaheim,” Washington said.

As far as Andrus is concerned, he’s 100 percent even though he has yet to take a grounder since the tightness took hold in the first inning Saturday as he ran the bases. But he has run and swung the bat without any major issues, and he is able to bend at the waist with far less pain than he had even Tuesday.

“I know that I can play the way I feel right now,” Andrus said. “I feel good today. For them to give me an extra day off is going to be beneficial for my health. For sure, I’ll be 100 percent Friday.”

Garza back in rhythm

Right-hander Matt Garza will start the opener of the three-game series against the Angels having found his usual rhythm on the mound just in time for the stretch run.

Garza starting feeling more like he usually does Aug. 25 at Chicago, even though he allowed five runs and suffered his second loss since joining the Rangers. He allowed only one run in seven innings Saturday against Minnesota.

“I just keep looking forward to every five days,” Garza said. “My job is to get deep in games and keep us in there. That’s what I try to do every time out.”

That’s a level-headed approach for the Rangers’ most intense pitcher, and Garza said that keeping things in perspective won’t be difficult heading down the stretch. This isn’t his first time in the hunt, and he’s glad to be back in a pennant race.

“It has bigger implications, but there’s big implications from Opening Day on,” Garza said. “You take every game and enjoy it, because it doesn’t happen very often. It’s going to be a lot of fun.”

Perez honored

Left-hander Martin Perez was named the American League Rookie of the Month after going 5-0 with a 3.06 ERA in five August starts.

Perez (9-3) extended his winning streak Tuesday night by allowing one run in seven innings in a 5-1 Rangers victory.

“He’s been a breath of fresh air,” Ron Washington said. “All the conversation about this kid before he came to the big leagues, and then all of the sudden, everything they said about him you see happening in front of your eyes.”

Berkman limited

Lance Berkman was out of the lineup Wednesday after playing two straight games, and for now the Rangers will try to use him only against right-handed pitchers.

The switch-hitter was removed for a pinch-hitter Tuesday with a left-hander on the mound, and Berkman confirmed that his hip injury limits him somewhat swinging right-handed.

“If he had to hit right-handed he could,” Ron Washington said. “But if I don’t have to do it, I won’t do it.”

Jim Adduci was the designated hitter Wednesday, and Washington gave Craig Gentry a second straight start in place of David Murphy.

Jeff Wilson, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @JeffWilson

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