Texas Rangers' Elvis Andrus, center, beats Chicago Cubs starting pitcher Travis Wood to first after a relay from first baseman Anthony Rizzo, left, on Andrus' infield hit during the first inning of a interleague baseball game, Tuesday, April 16 2013, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)
There was a nice silver lining to the Texas Rangers' season-opening loss to the sad-sap Houston Astros in front of a national television audience. On the next day, an off-day, the Rangers inked their young superstar shortstop/new face of the franchise Elvis Andrus to a long-term contract extension meaning he would be around past 2014, when the Scott Boras client was set to be a free agent.
Since that time, however, Andrus has not lived up to his deal, especially at the plate, and on Tuesday night he got a day off to think about it and hopefully recharge his batteries as the Rangers are in the midst of a long slump which has seen them lose seven of their last eight games, including Tuesday to first-place Oakland, which now leads the AL West by three games.
Andrus is hitting just .241 this season — 30 points below his career average — and has a pitiful .294 on-base percentage, not really worthy of a 9-hitter, much less a leadoff one.
Over his last 25 games, he's hitting just .167 and is hitting .186 in his last 56 at-bats with runners in scoring position.
"I just need to stay back on the ball," Andrus told ESPN Dallas, "and use my hands."
Sounds pretty simple. Get at it, Andrus.