SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Elvis Andrus wishes he could save the hits for the regular season, but he’s off to a good start early this spring.
Andrus leads the team with eight hits in Cactus League play, and he has a .471 batting average and a .706 slugging percentage.
He added 10 pounds to his frame in the offseason after working out more than he ever has and eating four to six meals a day. Andrus, 23, feels stronger and wants to drive the ball better this season.
“He’s trying to turn into a man,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “The past couple of years he’s been a little boy. I just hope that he can maintain that weight that he has because he certainly showing some strength so far this spring training.”
Although Washington worries he might try to swing for the fences, Andrus said he knows his role is to execute the fundamentals.
“I think to increase the weight is something that I have to do as a player and as a person, assuring every year I get better and my body gets stronger,” Andrus said.
Andrus did plenty of work on his swing in the past three months. He has always been a good contact guy, but second baseman Ian Kinsler said Andrus has had problems with inside pitches and gave him some tips to combat those problems.
“He’s really tried to stay inside with the ball on everything," Kinsler said. "He’s really got a inside-out swing, and there’s times when he just needs to let it go and kind of hit the ball up front of him a little more, especially on a ball in.”
Andrus' efforts have paid off, and he feels more comfortable this spring. He also worked on his stance, which consists of a high kick, and asked teammates for advice on how to improve at the plate. Andrus realized the timing of his high kick was inconsistent and at times he was late on his swing.
He thought he was was a good hitter with two strikes, and Andrus noticed his form was better in those scenarios because he was early.
“Every time you lay your foot and you separate, you’re early,” Andrus said. “You’re going to see the ball better. You’re going to see it fall better. You’re going to react better because you’re already in a hitting position.”
He worked on being more consistent with his high kick. Due to his strength, Andrus said he doesn’t need to put as much movement on it anymore to hit the ball with power.
“If he can get the timing of it very consistent where he’s taking his leg up and putting it down at the same time, every time, he’ll be a very good hitter,” Kinsler said.