SURPRISE, Ariz. - Shortstop Elvis Andrus made his Cactus League debut on Saturday afternoon and, in a bizarre coincidence, the Rangers won their first game in over a week."There you go…now we are talking," Andrus said. "We needed a little energy on the field."A.J. Griffin pitched four scoreless innings, Carlos
SURPRISE, Ariz. - Shortstop Elvis Andrus made his Cactus League debut on Saturday afternoon and, in a bizarre coincidence, the Rangers won their first game in over a week.
"There you go…now we are talking," Andrus said. "We needed a little energy on the field."
A.J. Griffin pitched four scoreless innings, Carlos Gomez and Nomar Mazara both went 2-for-3 andMike Napoli and Joey Gallo drove in runs with two-outs hits in a three-run third. Andrus went 0-for-3 at the plate and did not have a play over four innings in the field in a 5-1 victory over the White Sox.
But it may not be a coincidence the Rangers won with Andrus in the lineup. With their veteran shortstop, sometimes the constant energy he brings is enough to get the Rangers going.
"We saw a lot of energy," manager Jeff Banister said. "Elvis showed how much we missed him, in the dugout and on the field, his presence, everything he does. We are a winning ballclub when he plays."
The Rangers were 2-10-1 going into Saturday before winning the home game of their split-squad doubleheader, and are now 3-11-1.
"Our games have been a little too quiet," Andrus said. "That's easy for me to turn it up. It's always good to be back on the field and bring some energy and have some fun."
Andrus, with his unquenchable exuberance and merriment, always has something to say. Gallo's batting helmet became dislodged when he lined his two-run single and Andrus explained to him why when they went out to play defense in the fourth.
"I told him his helmet was surprised that he got a base hit," Andrus said. "Everything he hits is usually a bomb. I let him know a basehit is all right too."
Andrus has been sidelined since the beginning of the Cactus League while completing his recovery from offseason surgery. Andrus had an operation on Nov. 1 to repair a sports hernia, a condition that bothered him for most of last season.
That's why the Rangers were cautious about how they used him early in camp, especially since Spring Training is longer this year because of the World Baseball Classic. But everything was good physically on Saturday.
"On the field I was able to move around on defense," Andrus said. "Everything felt good today. Now my goal is to get ready for the season. We still have plenty of time."
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.