The time arrived Friday for Texas Rangers manager Ron Washington to have a talk with struggling shortstop Elvis Andrus.
The two-time All-Star hasn’t been playing with energy during a 1-for-28 slump that had dropped his average to .229 entering the opener of a three-game series at Angel Stadium. Only 10 games ago, Andrus was batting .304.
Throw in an inexcusable error during a 12-1 drubbing Wednesday, and Washington called Andrus into his office for a one-on-one talk.
The message was to play with more energy.
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“He was so involved in not being successful, he didn’t know,” Washington said. “You have to remind him sometimes. He thought he was being Elvis.”
Washington said he has no concerns about Andrus defensively, and was still flabbergasted about Andrus’ boot of an easy double-play grounder that allowed Oakland to score seven third-inning runs Wednesday.
The lack of energy has been evident at the plate. Andrus has been too aggressive at the plate and is trying to do too much at the plate as the Rangers deal with a long list of injuries.
“We’ve got to get him to just be Elvis,” Washington said. “You never know what affects your mental state. “It’s focus. If he’s focused on what he’s supposed to be doing, the energy part of it is there.”
Back in routine
Matt Harrison’s 2014 debut Sunday gave him something to build on and some things to work on. Saturday , he’ll try to apply what he learned at Angel Stadium in his second start of the season.
But now that his first start in more than a year is out of the way, he feels like he is back into a routine and feels as if he has been on the active roster since Opening Day.
“It’s different making rehab starts, but I feel better where my mental state is,” Harrison said. “Going into my next start, I feel 100 percent, and it’s good to be back in the same clubhouse every five days.”
Harrison was pleased with his opening act, allowing two runs over six innings, but saw room for improvement with his off-speed pitches. During his between-starts bullpen session, he simulated facing hitters and how he might make his secondary pitches more effective.
“I worked on some hitters and who I’m going to face tomorrow,” said Harrison, who threw 95 pitches last weekend at Safeco Field. “It’s just being more consistent. I wasn’t putting the ball where I wanted to and getting better-quality off-speed pitches, especially when I had a hitter in a hole. I need to throw a more competitive pitch.”
• Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff will undergo a microdiscectomy Tuesday in Los Angeles to repair a herniated disk. He will likely be out eight to 12 weeks after the surgery performed by Dr. Robert Watkins.
• Second baseman Jurickson Profar swung a bat for the first time since being diagnosed with a torn shoulder muscle only five days before the end of spring camp. The switch hitter said that he took 15 swings from each side off a tee. The plan is for him to take soft toss Saturday.
• Greg Maddux, a special assistant to general manager Jon Daniels, joined the team for the weekend. Washington said that Maddux has free rein to discuss any number of topics with the pitching staff.
• The next step for left-hander Joe Saunders (bruised left ankle) will be a rehab assignment, likely with Double A Frisco, after he allowed one run on four hits in four innings of an extended spring game in Surprise, Ariz.