ARLINGTON -- Adrian Beltre, speaking at his press conference on Friday, revealed a hidden reason why he decided to retire: shortstop Elvis Andrus.
"I didn't want to say it publicly, but another main reason that I retired was when he decided not to take the opt-out," Beltre said. "When I knew he was coming back, I was like, 'Oh yeah, this is it. I can't take another minute.'"
There are a number of reasons why Beltre would want to get away from Andrus. He was Beltre's chief tormentor, whether it was rubbing the third baseman's head after home runs, mimicking him in the field on pop flies or just keeping up a constant stream of chatter.
There is no doubt Beltre can't wait to get away from Beltre.
They were teammates for eight years on the Rangers -- mentor and protégé -- and the relationship between Beltre and Andrus took on special significance almost from the beginning. It will be difficult to imagine one without the other.
• Andrus pens heartfelt farewell to Beltre
"On a serious note, it's been a special relationship that I had with Elvis over the last eight years," Beltre said. 'He can be annoying sometimes, like I said before, many times, but he loves the game; he knows that I love the game. We're similar in a lot of stuff, but sometimes he just brings the best out in me."
Beltre has never been afraid to show how much he loves the game of baseball and how much fun he has on the field. Having Andrus next to him made it much easier to show that emotion.
"I like to enjoy the game; I like to enjoy what I do, love what I do," Beltre said. "But sometimes he makes it a little easier to do that. Over the last eight years, he has made my game better and easier.
"I like to have fun playing the game, but there were some times that I had a lot of stuff in my mind … 'Why am I not doing what I'm supposed to do to help this ballclub?' -- and Elvis would do some stupid stuff, funny stuff, and kind of help me to forget a little bit. And that kind of helped me to just relax and just play the game because I can't control everything."
Beltre admitted it was strange not having Andrus next to him early last season. Andrus was sidelined from April 11 to June 18 with a fractured right elbow, the first time in 10 years that he spent time on the disabled list.
"It's funny, because normally I'm the one getting hurt, and for the first time in eight years, I saw him get hurt last year," Beltre said. "And I looked to my left, and I was like, 'Where's Elvis?' I had never played third without him [in Texas]. It was weird. "But it was a special relationship, and I'm going to miss him. I'm going to miss half of it, because he was really annoying. But I saw him grow as a man and grow as a baseball player and now becoming more as a leader. He'll be fine without me."
Andrus was the first teammate that Beltre called when he decided to retire.
"He means the world to me," Andrus said. "When I first played with Michael [Young], I remember thinking it was going to be hard to find a teammate that meant so much to me. I can now. I was with Adrian for eight years and he taught me so much. He believed in me before I did. He always found a way to be in my corner and show me what to do.
"It's a sad day. It hasn't hit me yet. I think going into Spring Training and the regular season, that's when it will hit me hard."