Andrus stays focused on playing, not opt out

July 27th, 2018

HOUSTON -- Rangers shortstop is not expected to be dealt before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline, but it's not far-fetched to see this could be his last year in Texas.
Andrus is signed through 2022, but he also has the option of getting out of his contract following this season or next year and become a free agent. That is something that Andrus will have to consider if the Rangers are looking at a significant rebuilding program that keeps them out of postseason contention for multiple seasons to come.
"I don't want to think about it," Andrus said. "I still have two months left before I have to think about it. Everybody knows I love it here in Texas. My dream would be to end where I started. Try to go day by day right now, whatever happens, happens. This is home for me right now."
Andrus is in his 10th season with the Rangers. During that time, they have won four division titles, two American League pennants and one Wild Card Game. But this season and 2014 are the only two in which the Rangers' postseason chances were unlikely heading into the final two months.
The Rangers are also in the unusual mode of being a "seller" at the Trade Deadline. The club traded pitcher Cole Hamels to the Cubs on Friday and more deals could come before Tuesday.
"It's going to be a little different for sure, not having everybody," Andrus said. "That's the way it is. Nothing we can do about it. Just keep our head up and keep playing hard. We don't want to think negative or something bad is going to happen in the next two months. Keep playing hard."
Jurado joins rotation
The Rangers will call up right-hander from Double-A Frisco to start in place of Hamels on Saturday.
Jurado made one start for the Rangers in his Major League debut on May 19 against the White Sox. He allowed four runs in 4 2/3 innings in a 5-3 loss. The rest of the season has been spent at Frisco, where he went 5-3 with a 3.28 ERA and a 1.22 WHIP in 16 starts.
The Rangers have lefty Matt Moore, but he will continue to pitch out of the bullpen. Eddie Butler, acquired from the Cubs in the Hamels trade, has made 39 Major League starts, but he will start out in the 'pen. Manager Jeff Banister said Jurado will get more than one start this time.
"Right now, we are going to get Jurado in the rotation and let him pitch," Banister said. "The reports have all been good. It's another opportunity to get a young guy here, pitch, develop and learn ... great experience and a ton of growth."
Hamels back to Texas?
Hamels will be eligible for free agency after this season if the Cubs don't pick up his option, leaving open the possibility he might end up back with the Rangers at some point.
"I never leave doors closed," Hamels said on Friday. "This was such an amazing organization, especially the people behind the scenes, with what we've been able to accomplish with our [charity] foundation. The Ranger foundation, what they've been able to do, that's what you thoroughly enjoy outside the game of baseball, but it does make a huge impact on a player. I definitely recognize that, for what they do. The fan base here has been amazing.
"To see what they're going to do in the future with [the] new stadium, it's going to be an incredible place to play, and I know you get to see the young talent right now they're working towards. They have a great group of guys that are going to make a difference, that are going to be that new core. It makes it a little bit easier when free agency hits ... so I never leave that possibility closed." 
Rangers beat
• Outfielder was eligible to come off the disabled list on Friday, but he is not close. Mazara has only started to swing off a tee as he deals with a strained right thumb.
"It feels good. ... it is getting better," Mazara said. "But I can't put my [fielding] glove on yet. I can, but it hurts."
• There were five triples hit in Thursday's 7-6 loss to the Athletics. The A's hit four and the Rangers one. That's the most triples hit in one game at Globe Life Park since it opened in 1994.
• Banister wasn't planning to address his team and discuss the trade of Hamels to the Cubs.
"Everybody in the clubhouse knows what Cole meant to the ballclub and what he has done," Banister said. "But we know we have work to do. That's our focus. Did someone call timeout so we can clear our eyes, inhale and exhale? We continue to go. We have a game today."
• Outfielder was in the original starting lineup on Friday, but he was scratched because of back spasms.