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Rangers Need a Better, More Mature Elvis to be Team Leader

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Getty Images
    Jacoby Ellsbury #22 of the New York Yankees steals second base in the fifth inning ahead of the tag from Elvis Andrus #1 of the Texas Rangers at Yankee Stadium on July 24, 2014 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

    When I hosted a radio show with Elvis Andrus back in 2011 he was a wide-eyed kid playing a game. He dazzled in the field, but off it he was a quiet learner who took a back seat to veterans like Ian Kinsler, Michael Young, Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz and David Murphy.

    Don’t look now, but Andrus is suddenly one the Rangers’ elders.

    Only 26, but he’s the longest-tenured player on Texas’ roster in Spring Training in Surprise, Arizona. As a veteran with a $120 million contract, he needs to improve if the Rangers are to avoid another disastrous season like 2014.

    Andrus admittedly was out of shape a year ago, leading to a sluggish start and a career-worst year. He suffered dips in average (.263), runs scored (72), RBI (from 67 to 41) and stolen bases (42 to 27), and grounded into a team-high 21 double-plays.

    “This year I took it a thousand times more seriously than I did the year before,” Elvis told the Associated Press this week. “It’s part of the growing part, knowing yourself and knowing your body a little bit more every year.”

    Hard to believe, but the only position players remaining on the roster from the Rangers’ 2010 World Series team are Mitch Moreland and Andrus. They both need to improve this year if the team is avoid a repeat of last year.

    A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.