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Newly married Andrus thriving in ninth year

MLB.com @Sullivan_Ranger

ARLINGTON -- Elvis is married.

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus married his longtime girlfriend, Cori Febles, last Thursday at his home in Frisco, Texas. The couple is expecting their first child in July.

ARLINGTON -- Elvis is married.

Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus married his longtime girlfriend, Cori Febles, last Thursday at his home in Frisco, Texas. The couple is expecting their first child in July.

They had been planning to wait until the offseason to get married, but impending parenthood changed everything.

"We want to be officially married before he comes into the world," Andrus said.

The nuptials were attended only by immediate family. A bigger celebration awaits this coming offseason in the Dominican Republic.

"We always wanted to get married by the ocean," Andrus said. "It's going to be a big party. … A lot of food, a lot of fun."

Andrus and his new wife have been together for the past two years, and everybody has noticed that the Rangers' shortstop seems to be playing better than ever.

"I believe so, that it has helped me," he said. "It's helped me to chill out and put a lot of things in perspective, and put my energy where it needs to be. Sometimes when you are single, you do dumb stuff that takes you out of baseball."

Andrus said meeting Cori was "the best thing that ever happened to me," and now he is about to become a father.

"It's a lot more responsibility, but it's great," he said. "Life is a challenge, that's the fun part. A life without challenges means nothing. A lot of my teammates are married with kids, I'm ready for it.

"I'm ready for the responsibility. I feel more responsible. People tell me my life is going to change, but I'm ready. People say I'm not going to get any sleep, but I already have trouble sleeping. Now I'm not going to be sleeping for the best reasons. It's going to be a great thing."

The kid who was 20 years old when he became Texas' starting shortstop has grown up. Andrus is the senior member of the Rangers, as far as service time, and the winningest player in franchise history. He is the last player standing from the 2010 World Series team, the starting shortstop for four division-title winners and two pennant winners.

Andrus still loves to have fun. He can still dump buckets of ice on teammates, torment Adrian Beltre at will, and play the music in the clubhouse at ear-splitting decibels.

But Andrus has also established himself as a team leader, representing the last vestiges of a winning culture from the most celebrated years in franchise history. He retains the ultimate accountability to his organization, teammates and fans.

An eight-year contract extension signed in 2013 and running through '22 no longer tilts in extreme toward the player. Some of Andrus' one-time shortstop contemporaries -- like Hanley Ramirez, Jose Reyes and Erick Aybar -- have fallen from elite status. Andrus has not.

Andrus spent his first off-day as a married man hitting .305 with seven home runs, 35 RBIs and a .475 slugging percentage. His .825 OPS is the highest of his nine-year career.

Cast your Esurance All-Star Game Ballot for Elvis and other #ASGWorthy players

Video: TB@TEX: Andrus drives in five RBIs to cap Rangers win

"I'm just trying to do my thing," Andrus said. "I'm seeing the ball really good. I'm just trying to get on base, not try to do too much. Don't try to be the hero, try to set the tone for the rest of the guys."

Right now, there is no better person for Texas' young players to look up to and emulate than the team's shortstop.

T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast.

Texas Rangers, Elvis Andrus