SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Elvis Andrus, beefed up and feeling good, could hardly have a better start to his spring. The Texas shortstop singled, doubled, scored twice and had a sacrifice fly in the Rangers’ 16-3 rout of the Arizona Diamondbacks on Tuesday.
That makes him 5 for 5 in the last two games after going 3 for 3, including a triple, in the Rangers’ loss to Kansas City on Monday.
“I wish it counted for the season,” he said. “I’m looking forward to continuing to feel good out there, keep working on my offense, working on my defense.”
Andrus came to spring training having noticeably added strength to his upper body in the offseason.
“I’m feeling way better,” he said. “My legs are stronger, my whole body is stronger. My core is stronger. When you’re like that, you can see it out there.”
Although he’s just 23, Andrus is entering his fourth full season with the Rangers after coming to Texas from Atlanta as part of the trade that sent Mark Teixeira to the Braves in 2007.
Firmly in the No. 2 spot in the lineup, Andrus hit a career-best .279 last season. He has 33, 32 and 37 stolen bases in his three seasons in the majors.
Matt Harrison came to Texas in that deal, too, and the left-hander is the only Rangers pitcher who has been in the starting rotation each of the past three seasons.
He threw just 22 pitches in his spring training debut on Tuesday.
“I felt the ball was coming out good today,” said Harrison, who was 14-9 with a 3.39 ERA for the AL champions last season. “I threw all my pitches, threw them all for strikes. The only problem I was having really was being able to command the glove side, inside to righties away to lefties a little bit.”
The only hit he allowed, a double by Chris Young, came on what was intended to be an inside pitch, he said, but was over the middle of the plate.
Conor Jackson hit a solo home run and Nelson Cruz singled in two runs for the Rangers, who outhit the Diamondbacks 19-5. Leonys Martin and Yangervis Solarte also homered for Texas. David Winfree had a three-run shot for the Diamondbacks.
Arizona’s Joe Saunders gave up two runs on five hits, including Jackson’s homer, in two innings.
“We wanted to pitch better than we had but again it’s early,” Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson said. “These are the type of days that are tough to go through but you just move on.”
Arizona right-hander Evan Marshall took a line drive to the chest and left the game. Gibson said he expected Marshall to be sore for a few days but didn’t believe the injury was serious.
The pre-game buzz for the Rangers was about the pitching debut of Japanese start, Yu Darvish, scheduled for Wednesday against the San Diego Padres in Peoria.
“I’m not going to put a lot into what happens,” Texas manager Ron Washington said. “I just want him to go out there and get into a big league game and get his work done like everyone else is getting their work done and move forward to the next one.
“I have communicated to him that it is a progression and he understands that, but you can’t control how he’s going to feel when he gets on the mound for the first time.”
(Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)