Andrus, Rangers join PLAY campaign
ARLINGTON -- When Elvis Andrus looked around at his first Spring Training as a teenager, the slender shortstop wondered how he'd ever make it to the Majors.
"This is going to be hard," Andrus thought to himself. "How am I going to get to the big leagues? Everybody is so big. They have these muscles everywhere and I'm so skinny."
Andrus shared these thoughts with more than 50 kids at Globe Life Park on Saturday as part of the PLAY campaign, which aims to spread a positive message about the benefits of an active and healthy lifestyle. The campaign was created in 2004 by the Professional Baseball Athletic Trainers Society (PBATS) in conjunction with MLB Charities and the Taylor Hooton Foundation.
Along with talking to children about a proper diet and regular exercise, PLAY (Promoting a Lifestyle of Activity for Youth) also educates them about the dangers of illegal performance-enhancing drugs. That's where Andrus came in.
"I signed [with the Braves] when I was 16 and was probably like 160 pounds," Andrus said. "There were a lot of people telling me to go the wrong way to get bigger, but I didn't believe in that way. I always said that everything I have in my body will grow by itself if I train the right way. I made it [to the big leagues] when I was 20. I'm glad I made the right choice, did the right things and listened to the right people."
Before listening to Andrus' speech, the kids rotated through various stations at the ballpark. In the Globe Life Park outfield, they walked through Rangers players' pregame stretching and workout routines. They also toured the training room, weight room and the batting cages, where they took batting practice with Rangers right-hander Nick Tepesch and outfielder Ryan Rua.
"Any time you're in our situation and you have a chance to give back, you take advantage of it," Tepesch said. "In any sport, taking care of your body is the most important thing. Being able to have the chance to learn at such a young age what goes into taking care of your body and doing the right things, it's going to help them in the long run."
"It's good to make [the kids] aware," Rua said. "At younger ages, you're always just excited to get out there and you're not really worried about your body. So these kids learning this at this age is going to benefit them."
Rangers left-hander Derek Holland also chimed in about the importance of eating right and avoiding PEDs.
"Eat your vegetables," said Holland. "When [your parents are] telling you to eat your green beans, they're doing that for a purpose. They're telling you because they know it's good for your body… We're trying to inspire you guys so that one day we see guys out on this field."