Elvis Andrus yanked from game for lack of effort

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Rangers manager Ron Washington pulled shortstop Elvis Andrus from Sunday’s loss to the Twins after the youngster made what looked like a lazy throw on a grounder in the bottom of the eighth.

“I didn’t like his attitude,” Washington told the Dallas Morning News. “The inning before there were a couple of plays he didn’t make, but he gave the effort. There are going to be plays that you can’t make. On that play, there wasn’t energy. Elvis is better than that. I didn’t chew him out, but I let him know that.”

The errant throw resulted in Andrus’ second error of the game.  The previous error in the seventh contributed to five unearned runs, and Andrus had a second ball that he failed to get to as part of that big inning for the Twins.

“I was still a little upset, I think about the inning before,” Andrus said. “I got upset with myself and I think that was still bothering me because I didn’t help the pitcher out. But things happen. There is no excuse. There’s nothing really that I can say about it.”

It doesn’t sound like the incident will put Andrus back on the bench Tuesday against the Yankees.  He has been awfully error prone this season, with 13 miscues already, but he’s also made a lot of great plays and the Rangers are pretty happy with how he’s contributing offensively. Hopefully this will end up being just a one-time thing.

Why Ryan Zimmerman skipped spring training

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All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.

The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.

It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.

It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.

Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉