The shortstop position is always going to be under a microscope because it’s such an integral part of a team’s defense.
That’s what attracted Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus to the position in the first place — he doesn’t mind the extra focus on him. In fact, he loves being in the middle of the action.
With that attention, however, comes intense criticism from fans when things aren’t going well.
Andrus struggled through much of the first two months of the season, but is batting .263 in June. His defense has improved after committing five errors in April. He’s tied for fifth in the majors with 12 errors, but has only one in his past 16 games, including Sunday against the Twins.
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“That position demands a lot of attention and criticism, and people are going to talk a lot,” Andrus said before Sunday’s series finale against the Twins. “We’re right in the middle, like a catcher and center fielder.
“If we’re doing good, the whole team looks good. It’s something that I like. That’s why I play that position. I love the competition and everybody focusing on me.”
Rangers manager Jeff Banister is impressed with how Andrus revels in the scrutiny. He was happy to see Andrus come through with a career-high four RBIs in Friday’s victory.
“I don’t think Elvis lacks in confidence; I just think that you want to be rewarded for your efforts,” Banister said. “This season for Elvis — you think about the number of at-bats he’s had where he’s lined out somewhere — he’s been unlucky in that regard, so it can get a little frustrating for a player.”
Andrus has always been good about staying positive when he’s struggling, especially when dealing with the media. But his struggles at the plate and defensive mistakes had begun to wear on him, which can compound problems in other areas.
“He’s a guy who has a lot of passion for what we’re doing, wants this ballclub to win, wants to be in the middle of it,” Banister said. “This game will sandpaper you down, you’ll be nothing but a brush burn for all eternity if you allow every little frustrating moment to eat at you.”
And the extra focus from fans? Andrus, who is batting .239, doesn’t mind. He appreciates the loyalty that Rangers fans continue to show him.
“There’s always going to be bad comments, bad thoughts, guys that get mad and they don’t like you for that day,” he said. “But for the seven years that I’ve been here, fans have really been really loyal to me. Through the good and the bad, they haven’t changed for me.
“They still trust me and they still believe I can do the job, and I can feel that when I’m out on the field.”
Beltre thumb update
Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre had four stitches removed from his sprained left thumb Sunday, but he’s still unable to grip a bat.
“It’s still not comfortable,” Beltre said. I’ve been trying since the second day.”
Beltre sprained his thumb and needed stitches to close a gash after sliding into second base during a game May 31. He’s been on the disabled list since June 1.
“I don’t get frustrated,” he said. “Obviously, I wanted to be playing already. I thought that it would be better by now, but according to the doctors it was really dramatic what happened in there so it’s going to take some time.”
Alfaro having surgery
Double A Frisco catcher Jorge Alfaro will have surgery Wednesday to repair a tendon in in his left ankle. It’s likely to end his season. Alfaro is rated the Rangers’ No. 2 prospect by MLB.com.
“Distance is always impressive. Everybody loves [golfer] John Daly, too, and they made shirts about guys who hit the long ball. It still only counts as one run, unless there are runners on base.” — Rangers manager Jeff Banister on Joey Gallo’s 461-foot homer Saturday, and whether pitchers are affected by the distance.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760
Seven more sign
The Rangers signed seven more drafted players Sunday. The latest, with round, position and where they’ve been assigned:
1B Curtis Terry
LHP Adam Choplick
CF Nick Kaye
LHP Jason Richman
C Joenny Vazquez
LHP Jeffrey Springs
CF London Lindley