A prolonged slump that was magnified during a 5-3 loss Saturday led to Elvis Andrus being dropped to ninth in the Texas Rangers’ lineup from his customary No. 2 spot.
Manager Ron Washington made the move before Sunday’s series finale at Angel Stadium after Andrus went 0 for 5 with three strikeouts Saturday and left six runners on base. Twice he struck out against Garrett Richards with runners at third and two outs.
“He’s not able to slow things down,” Washington said. “He’s not swinging the bat well, so he’s chasing pitches that he ordinarily wouldn’t chase. Right now, he’s out of sync.”
Andrus said that he was having difficulty reading Richards’ pitches and knew he was in for a long night. Andrus also said that he understands Washington’s decision to slide him down in the lineup until he can break out of his funk.
“It’s not the first time that’s happened,” Andrus said. “As long as I’m in the lineup I’m happy. I’m scuffling at the plate right now, and I’m up for anything if it helps the team. If the manager thinks that’s best for the team, there’s nothing else you can do.”
Daniel Robertson, making his first career start, replaced Andrus in the No. 2 spot and played left field as leadoff hitter Shin-Soo Choo was the designated hitter. Leonys Martin received his second day off of the season, giving Michael Choice a start in center field.
Andrus isn’t the only player struggling. Third baseman Adrian Beltre entered Sunday hitless in his past 12 at-bats, but went 3 for 5 Sunday with three runs scored. And Washington said he has no worries about Beltre as he continues to search for his timing following a 15-day stay on the disabled list.
“He’s out of sync, too,” Washington said. “When he has smoked some balls, they’ve been at people. It’s just a matter of him continuing to get at-bats.”
Keep it low
The Rangers were scheduled to fly to Denver on Sunday evening ahead of a two-game interleague series against Colorado at Coors Field, where balls sail out the ballpark at one mile above sea level.
Left-handers Martin Perez and Robbie Ross drew the short straws and will be the Rangers’ starting pitchers Monday and Tuesday. The key to success — keeping the ball down — isn’t any different at Coors Field than any other ballpark. The difference is that mistakes usually are more costly.
“Try to keep the ball down. That’s about it,” Washington said. “I saw some film on those guys. They can smoke the high pitch.”
Perez, who had his worst start of the season Tuesday against Oakland, typically keeps the ball down and gets most of his outs with a sinker. He has been warned about pitching at elevation.
“They say it’s a hitter’s ballpark,” Perez said. “I don’t worry about that. I just have to keep the ball down and throw my sinker down and away, and get a lot of ground balls and quick outs.”
Briefly• The Rangers have had scouts attend workouts for free-agent slugger Kendrys Morales, but have yet to engage agent Scott Boras in negotiations. Morales is likely waiting to sign until after the First-Year Player Draft early next month so that he won’t have draft-pick compensation attached to him.
• Left-hander Joe Saunders will make a rehab start Tuesday for Double A Frisco. The Rangers are now calling his injury, suffered April 5 when struck by an Evan Longoria line drive, a stress fracture of the left ankle.