Elvis Andrus injury: Rangers SS says he's 'fine' but what if he isn't?

Christopher Hanewinckel-USA TODA

Jurickson Profar could slide over to short if Andrus misses game action, but the injury could be a huge loss offensively.

Just when the Rangers got Jurickson Profar back into unlimited action, Elvis Andrus began showing signs of tendonitis in the flexor tendon of his throwing arm, according to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News.

Assistant general manager Thad Levine said the 25-year-old shortstop would "probably like to play through it," but the club has decided to "take matters out of [Andrus'] hand."

Andrus doesn't sound too worried about it.

"It’s definitely not ready, but it’s getting there. It’s probably going to take a little longer this year to get there, but it will be fine."

Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports that Andrus' elbow will be evaluated by Dr. Keith Mesiter on Friday.

What if Andrus misses extended time?

If Texas gets bad news, Profar could move over to short, and while he projects as a strong defender there, he might not be at Andrus' level just yet. Andrus has been one of the best defensive shortstops in the game since reaching the majors in 2009, and although he's been a popular topic for a while now, he's just 21 years old.

He didn't come thundering out of the minors offensively the way some prospects do, but his numbers in short work last season aren't indicative of his talent level. He hit just .234/.308/.336 in 286 plate appearances last year, however, he batted .276/.367/.449 in over 1,500 minor league plate appearances, so he's likely to improve at some point.

That improvement might not come this season, though. And although he'll be able to fill in effectively at shortstop, the Rangers will certainly miss Andrus at the top of their batting order if he is forced out of the lineup for an extended period of time.

Adam Rosales and Brent Lillibridge would likely compete for playing time at second. The Rangers' top prospect, Rougned Odor, is listed as a second baseman, but some talent evaluators are hesitant to project him as a major leaguer at this point. If Andrus and Profar are any indication, the club won't hesitate to promote Odor if they think he's capable of filling a need in Arlington.

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