Short-term memory key to Andrus' progress
PHOENIX -- Earlier in his career, Elvis Andrus didn't handle failure on the diamond well. When the Rangers' shortstop made an error that cost his team a run, it stayed in his head.
With all the natural ability Andrus possessed, it was difficult for him to forget his mistakes and move on.
Now in his fifth season in the big leagues, Andrus has started to grasp the concept of short-term memory.
"I'm still working on it, I know when you make an error, you can't really think about it, you can't get mad, just turn the page," Andrus said. "If you make an error and nothing happens in the inning, you take it easy. But when you make an error and they score, that's when I got mad because you know you're the reason.
"Now it's different, if you play every day you have to understand you're going to make errors. Just try to stay with the positives and turn the page on the negatives."
Andrus has had to implement that mantra recently. The 24-year-old made one error in the Rangers' first 45 games, but entering Monday, the shortstop had committed three miscues over his past four games.
"Sometimes he just losses his mental edge," manager Ron Washington said. "But the thing you forget about Elvis is that he's 24. He's still got a lot of upside, by the time he reaches 26 or 27 years old, he'll have it figured out. He already plays well beyond his years, we just expect more out of him because of his talent. He's a young kid still learning."
Despite his recent rough stretch in the field, Andrus still ranks second in the Majors in defensive Wins Above Replacement at 1.1, trailing only the Braves' Andrelton Simmons. Washington thinks sooner rather than later everything will click and translate into a Gold Glove Award for Andrus, who lost out to J.J. Hardy of the Orioles last season.
"He's got the potential to get one," Washington said. "Just has to be able to play through mental fatigue. Once he learns how to get through that, it's going to happen. The three or four mistakes he has made recently were because he was mentally tired. It's going to start happening for him."
Washington knows about coaching Gold Glove Award winners, too. Adrian Beltre has won two straight for the Rangers while Eric Chavez, who Texas faced on Monday, earned six consecutive Gold Glove Awards from 2001-06 in Oakland with Washington as a coach.
Individually, Andrus admitted winning a Gold Glove Award is high atop his list of goals for his career, but he knows it all happens with time.
"I think any player would want to win a Gold Glove, it means you're consistent and mentally ready every day," he said. "It comes with experience, for sure. You have to adapt to different situations."