Rangers at Angels Pre-Game Notes; The Challenges Andrus May Face If He Changes Positions

Chris Halicke

The Texas Rangers seek to snap their three-game skid as they take on the Los Angeles Angels in Anaheim.

Texas Rangers (18-34) @ Los Angeles Angels (23-30)

Sunday, September 20, 2020
3:10 p.m. CT
Angel Stadium | Anaheim, CA

Probables
TEX: RHP Kyle Cody (0-1, 1.42 ERA)
vs
LAA: RHP Julio Teheran (0-3, 8.90 ERA)

Broadcast

Texas Rangers
TV: FOX Sports Southwest, MLB Network
Radio: 105.3 The Fan, KFLC

Los Angeles Angels
TV: FOX Sports West, MLB Network
Radio: KLAA, KWKW

Texas Rangers Starting Lineup

  1. CF Leody Taveras
  2. LF Willie Calhoun
  3. 3B Isiah Kiner-Falefa
  4. RF Joey Gallo
  5. 2B Rougned Odor
  6. SS Anderson Tejeda
  7. DH Derek Dietrich
  8. 1B Ronald Guzmán
  9. C Sam Huff

Los Angeles Angels Starting Lineup

  1. 2B David Fletcher
  2. 1B Jared Walsh
  3. CF Mike Trout
  4. 3B Anthony Rendon
  5. DH Shohei Ohtani
  6. LF Justin Upton
  7. RF Taylor Ward
  8. C Anthony Bemboom
  9. SS Andrelton Simmons

Injury Report

10-Day IL

  • Joe Palumbo (ulcerative colitis flare-up): eligible August 14
  • Danny Santana (right elbow sprain): eligible September 6
  • Joely Rodríguez (left hamstring strain): eligible September 16
  • Shin-Soo Choo (right hand sprain): eligible September 18
  • Jose Trevino (left wrist impingement): eligible September 21
  • Elvis Andrus (lower back strain): eligible September 22

45-Day IL

  • Brock Burke (left shoulder surgery): eligible May 27
  • Corey Kluber (torn right teres major muscle (shoulder)): eligible September 11
  • José Leclerc (torn right teres major muscle (shoulder)): eligible September 13
  • Edinson Vólquez (right oblique strain): eligible September 27

Rangers Trade Completed

The Rangers announced on Sunday that the club has acquired RHP Stephen Villines to complete the trade that sent RHP Ariel Jurado to the New York Mets on August 5. Texas also received cash considerations in the trade.

Villines, 25, has a career minor league record of 10-7 with a 2.67 ERA, 18 saves, and 191 strikeouts in 155 innings in 107 relief appearances with the Mets organization from 2017-19. He was not a member of New York’s 60-man player pool this summer.

He was a 10th round selection by New York out of the University of Kansas in the 2017 MLB Draft.

Could Elvis Andrus Change Positions Next Season?

When the Texas Rangers trot out their Opening Day lineup in 2021, it is not a guarantee that Elvis Andrus will be the starting shortstop. Andrus has held down the position since management made room for him in 2009 when they asked Michael Young to shift from shortstop to third base. 

On the heels of two subpar seasons in 2018-2019, Andrus has had a very disappointing 2020 campaign while dealing with significant back pain that ended his season last week. He has already undergone initial treatment for the injury and began the process of working back to 100 percent health for spring training in February.

Elvis will attempt to keep his spot at shortstop he's held for so long. However, the Rangers are considering Isiah Kiner-Falefa at either third base or shortstop next season. Kiner-Falefa could potentially win a Gold Glove at third base this season, but his ability at either position gives the Rangers options heading into next season.

Rangers President of Baseball Operations and General Manager Jon Daniels mentioned early last week that Andrus may be asked to switch positions next season. If Andrus can't hold onto his spot at shortstop, the obvious choices for Andrus' next position would be either second or third base. 

As a former infielder himself, I asked Rangers manager Chris Woodward about the challenges of switching positions that Andrus may face, especially since he's only played shortstop as a professional.

“That would be a challenge, especially since he's never played another position. But I do believe, being a shortstop, I never played another position until I got to the big leagues. And then when I did, I was asked to play second; asked to play third. And it was an easier transition, because I was a shortstop. If Elvis had been a second baseman, you're asking a third baseman, if you're asking to play second, it’s a different thing. But I think honestly, the biggest thing will be the second base one, if that's where we go. Just because it's a different—it’s on the other side of the field. Third base is very similar, you're just a little more pull. And you can't really see signs, and there's a few things on the corners that are different from shortstop. At second base, everything is the opposite. So you’re having to turn and throw right instead of always turning throwing left at shortstop is a bit of a challenge. But I know Elvis believes he's still the everyday shortstop, and I want him to believe that. He's obviously gotta come in and prove that, but if we happen to move him around a little bit, it's gonna be a little bit of an adjustment. But I think he’ll be fine.”

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