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Elvis Andrus wants to overcome fatigue

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- As Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus analyzed his 2010 season, there was one area he felt he had to get address: fatigue.

Andrus said he got mentally and physically tired in August and September. As the summer dragged on, manager Ron Washington wasn't able to get Andrus off the field. Andres Blanco was playing second base and Andrus had to be in the lineup nearly every day.

"I don't want that to happen again," Andrus said. "I worked hard this offseason to get stronger in my lower body. My hamstrings were something that got to me last year and I worked on those too."

Andrus hit just .160 in 75 September at-bats, something that might be attributed to grinding things out through a hot and busy August (Andrus did manage to hit .296 in August after batting just .216).

"He was forced to play through that fatigue," Washington said. "You have to learn how to it when you don't have all of your weapons."

Increased versatility on the Rangers' bench should help Washington get Andrus some more time off this season, barring injuries. Blanco and Michael Young can both play shortstop if needed. Washington wouldn't say how many games he wanted Andrus to play in 2011, but he does want to get him off his feet more.

"He never experienced that before," Washington said about pushing through the fatigue. "Winning is tough. It takes a toll and there's pressure to produce each day. We just want him to stay healthy, improve defensively and to get better as a hitter."

Andrus gained 10 pounds this offseason but figures he'll lose at least five of that before Opening Day. This is the first time in five seasons that he didn't play winter ball.

"That's good and bad," Andrus said. "It means I'm starting at zero here and have to build up, but I'm also full of energy because I haven't been playing. I'm getting into it now and I'll be ready."