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Notes: Andrus on Frazier; Fernandez memories

@Sullivan_Ranger
February 16, 2020

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Elvis Andrus will begin his 12th season with the Rangers when the first full-squad workout takes place Monday. He is the senior member of the Rangers and an obvious team leader. But he’s hoping the leadership role won’t be as taxing as it was last season

SURPRISE, Ariz. -- Shortstop Elvis Andrus will begin his 12th season with the Rangers when the first full-squad workout takes place Monday.

He is the senior member of the Rangers and an obvious team leader. But he’s hoping the leadership role won’t be as taxing as it was last season when he was pegged as the heir apparent after Adrián Beltré retired.

The assignment was more than he expected.

“This year is a lot easier,” Andrus said. It’s all about having fun, relax and go out there and play hard. Having this clubhouse is going to help me a lot. I don’t have to worry about clubhouse stuff. I can actually concentrate on being the best player in the field.”

The Rangers added at least one kindred spirit for Andrus. Third baseman Todd Frazier is a nine-year veteran with a reputation for having a strong clubhouse presence on winning teams.

“I’m excited to have him here,” Andrus said.

Frazier brings 'breath of fresh air' to Rangers

Andrus is hoping that keeps him from having to be the chief of police in the clubhouse.

“That’s the last thing I want to do this year,” Andrus said. “I have two at home, those are the ones I have to police.”

Remembering Tony Fernandez

The passing of former All-Star infielder Tony Fernandez hit home with both Rangers general manager Jon Daniels and manager Chris Woodward.

Fernandez worked for the Rangers as a special assistant from 2012-14. He served as an instructor for many of the Rangers’ young infielders at the time, including Rougned Odor and Jurickson Profar.

Daniels remembered one speech delivered to players at the Rangers’ academy in the Dominican Republic.

“He had an unbelievable way of communicating,” Daniels said. “His mindset was always five more minutes. The self-discipline that drove him and why he had such a great career. Five more swings, five more ground balls, how he took pride in each and every one of them. He carried himself with such dignity and grace. Really unique calmness and serenity about him.”

Woodward was teammates with Fernandez in 1999 in Toronto. Woodward was a rookie infielder and Fernandez was having an All-Star year at third base.

“Got to know him pretty well,” Woodward said. “His work ethic had a big impact on me and my preparation. It was what I needed to have to be a Major League player.”

He said It

“When I first walked in here, I thought I was a big guy and I saw the size of some of these guys on this team. It’s just unbelievable. I would not want to be going after any of these guys.” -- Frazier, whose locker is not far from Joey Gallo

Rangers beat

• Woodward said he can see a big difference with infielder Isiah Kiner-Falefa now that he is no longer catching. Woodward said Kiner-Falefa is moving better in the infield and showing more lower-body strength in his hitting. Said Woodward, “He looks good right now. I have been really impressed. He’s done everything we asked him to do.”

• Blake Swihart, who is in camp on a non-roster invite, has played first, outfield and catcher at the Major League level. Woodward said the Rangers are more intrigued by his offensive potential as a switch-hitter and that they want to see how the bat plays out this spring before they determine how best to use him in the field.

• What pitcher in camp had the highest average velocity on his fastball last year? That would be right-hander Luis García, who was with the Angels last season. He was at 97.1 miles per hour. José Leclerc was next at 96.8.

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.