SURPRISE, Arizona - Most of the original faces the Texas Rangers relied on to turn into a contender back in 2009 are gone. The departures of Josh Hamilton, Nelson Cruz, Michael Young, David Murphy, Ian Kinsler and others have created a rather large void in terms of leadership, leaving the rookie from that '09 team to be the grown up today.
Hard to believe that Elvis Andrus, a rookie in '09, has five seasons of big league experience and is now the leader for the kids to follow. Considering the player he has become, and the leaders he had to follow, this responsibility is safe and secure with this man.
You OK with the leadership thing? Yeah. It’s a big one. It’s a daily thing. It’s not something where you do one day and take a week off. You have to have consistency. You have to do the right things, and that is the hard part. Do everything right and show everybody how it’s done. People are going to follow your steps.
You want that? I’ve always wanted that.
A lot of guys don’t. I love it. I am so young I do get caught up in that, but in the second half of last season I was trying to be more consistent with that and it felt good. It’s not going to change the way I play.
Could you have done that without being comfortable speaking English? The first thing is to be able to communicate. If you don’t have the language, it’s hard to be a leader. Not many people are going to try to pick your brain. Language is a huge thing.
Are you completely comfortable with English now? Yeah but I am still learning; maybe if I pronounce something bad a teammate will help me.
What was the hardest part of mastering English? The first thing is the opposite of Spanish. I was able to learn words and sentences but I would put them together the wrong way. People would understand but to put it all together the right way took time. I don’t want to be the Latin guy that people just understand; I want to understand how to write, grammar and to speak better.
I want to be able to speak two languages the right way.
Type of leader you’d like to be – Michael Young, Omar Vizquel? Michael was a huge one. Omar played jus one year here. Mike, when I came here, he was the main guy. Before he got traded he was that guy. The way he worked out, the way he spoke in interviews – you try to follow that. If you are doing that, you are doing the right thing.
I was a pain in the ass asking him all the time. You want to learn from the best and he was one of the best.
Why the beard? Because back home it’s freezing. The offseason was bad – it was so cold. So I let it grow. And I'm pretty hairy so it grew fast.
Does it itch? Not really.
Like it? Yeah. I won’t let it grow too much. I trim it. I cut it all the time. It’s been five months since I’ve had it.
Do girls like it? I just moved in with my girlfriend.
So it’s worked? It’s worked.
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