Andrus loves watching the World Cup Soccer tournament. "Soccer is really important to me," said Andrus, who is from Venezuela. "I love soccer. I played soccer until I was 16 and I signed with the Braves. They didn't let me play anymore. But I always loved soccer. I'd rather watch soccer than baseball on TV."
Andrus played on his city team. He didn't play for his country, because that's a year-round of the championship in his last season in high school.
Elvis is not sure if he was named for Elvis Presley. But every member of his family has a first name beginning with the letter "E." That includes his father, Emilio; his mother, Elvia; his two brothers, Erikson and Erold; and his sister, Emily.
"I asked my mother a lot of times, but she never told me,” Andrus said. “Maybe my Dad liked Elvis Presley. I’m not sure about that.”
The best answer might be imaginative alliteration. Andrus’s father, a university professor who died when Andrus was 7, was named Emilio. His mother is Elvia. And all four children in the Andrus family have first names beginning with the letter E—older brothers Erikson and Erold (who played in the Yankees' farm system), and sister Emily. Andrus suspects his mother came up with Elvis by switching the last letter of her name.
“I think it was the coolest name with an E,” Andrus said, smiling.
He spent is entire first season in the GCL season at age 16. He played like he was older in all phases of his game. Rolando Petit, a Braves scout covering Venezuela, started sending reports on Andrus about the time the shortstop celebrated his 13th birthday. Petit followed Andrus's older brother, Erold, before he signed with the Yankees in 2000.
Elvis learned English by listening to the country music band Rascal Flatts.
Growing up, Andrus's favorite player was shortstop Omar Vizquel.
- Before the 2006 season, Baseball America rated Elvis as third-best prospect in the Braves' organization. And the magazine moved Andrus up to #2 before 2007 spring training. Moving to the Texas Rangers organization, they had Andrus as the #1 prospect in the system in the spring of 2008.
They dropped Andrus during the winter before 2009 spring training, but only to 4th-best in the Rangers' farm system.
Elvis exhibits a whole lot of maturity for someone his age. His instincts and willingness to learn make up for any knowledge he has yet to gain. Andrus is very poised and plays in control. He works real hard. And, he always has a smile on his face. His energy and the joy he plays the game with rubs off on his teammates.
His makeup is off the charts.
Andrus is learning to adjust to the American culture—a task that can, at times, be more difficult than professional baseball.
“Everything is very different (in the states) than in Venezuela,” Andrus said, “and it can be hard for me. I miss having my Mom cook for me every day, and sometimes I miss being home. But I came here to play baseball; I know that it is my future.”
There’s at least one element that Andrus isn’t homesick about.
“The baseball fields in Venezuela were all very bad,” he said, “but here, they all look perfect.”
Andrus, incidentally, needs no translator when dealing with the media. He has already acquired a working knowledge of the English language, and is resolute on learning more.
“I practice my English every day,” said Andrus, who expanded his vocabulary considerably in 2006. “I know that when I get to the big leagues, I will have to know the language.”
Angel Salazar, a roving instructor in the Braves’ system, spent much of the first half of the 2006 season with the Rome club, and served as a liaison for Andrus and the other Latin players. Salazar helped them get a better feel for American customs and language. Andrus, however, believes his teammates actually make the best tutors.
“They teach me about English all the time,” he said. “I ask them a lot of questions about everything, and they are helping me.” (David Dawson-Rome News-Tribune-August 2006)
In 2009, Andrus finished second in the AL Rookie of the Year voting, behind A's reliever Andrew Bailey.
Before the start of every game, Andrus writes the name of his late father, Emilio, into the infield dirt.
After joining the Rangers, Elvis said that his favorite shortstop is Derek Jeter because "he's a leader and a winner, and that's what I am." He also picked Sammy Sosa's brain about how to get other players to respect him as a leader. That makeup sets Andrus apart—not just off the field but on it.
February 27, 2013: Andrus had to miss a game due to muscle soreness in his left arm caused by a new tattoo. The tattoo filled most of Elvis' left arm from shoulder to elbow, so it isn't surprising he is experiencing soreness. The image features a large face as a tribute to his late father, with crossed baseball bats underneath the face.
During spring training in 2013, Elvis finally got a tattoo honoring his father. The tattoo features a picture of his father with the words "In loving memory" and "Dad" surrounding the image. Andrus's father passed away in 1996.
His favorite TV show is "Duck Dynasty." He says Si Robertson reminds him of one of his uncles. His favorite song is "Locked Out of Heaven" by Bruno Mars. (April 6, 2013)
Andrus's older brother Erold Andrus played in the Independent Leagues in 2009 and 2010, as an outfielder.
- Elvis has turned into the Wolfman Jack of the Rangers, complete with his boom box that he takes out to the field for batting practice.
Andrus has always had a big say in what music was played in the clubhouse after wins, but now his boom box is everywhere in the 2015 Spring Training camp. The Rangers work out to the sound of the music, and Andrus is the one who decides what's played in his role as the camp disc jockey.
"I'm a nice DJ," Andrus said. "I always mix it up. Sometimes I put on country, today it could be Michael Jackson. Pump it up. It's something we talked about this winter. Let's have fun and keep it loose while we're focused and working hard. Pump it up. It is about everybody having fun and enjoying themselves."
Bruno Mars sits at the top of the Andrus playlist, with Uptown Funk, and then two Reggaeton acts, Don Omar and Daddy Yankee. There is also Jackson and the country tune "Chicken Fried." "That's for Mitch Moreland," Andrus said.
Plus some heavy salsa for Rougned Odor. Prince Fielder said Andrus is one of the best disc jockeys he has seen in a clubhouse. "Elvis has a variety of styles for the whole clubhouse," Fielder said. "Some guys only do music for their friends. Elvis hits everybody, so nobody complains."
Andrus even had Frank Sinatra playing during a round of batting practice, but not while he was hitting. The Chairman of the Board was by special request from a senior member of the media. That may not last long. "That's a little too mellow," Andrus said. "We need to pump it up." (Sullivan - mlb.com - 3/4/15)
Does he ever worry for his safety when he is in Venezuela? “Oh yeah, for sure. I think that five, six years ago if you asked me if I was ever going to have a bodyguard, I would say, ‘No way, I don’t like it. I feel uncomfortable with bodyguards,’ but in reality you have to have them.
"When I go back, I have a couple. My older brother, he’s living with me in Dallas, he actually got attempted to kidnap last year. It was crazy. Thank God nothing happened, but it’s up there, it’s an everyday thing in Venezuela. It was a crazy year on the field, outside the field, but thank God everything is in the past. Turn the page, my family is fine, I feel fine and the good thing about it is we got a bright future ahead and we’re all preparing for that.” (D/FW Sportsday - 5/10/15)
December 21, 2015: Four days before Christmas, Elvis was out spreading holiday cheer. It's what he does. Andrus was at the Rangers Hall of Fame at Globe Life Park, hosting 27 athletes and parents of the Special Olympics Youth Athletes Program to a special holiday meal. There was also face painting, balloon making, and cookie decorating to complete the festivities.
"It's about continuing to give back," Elvis said. "These kids are so amazing and unbelievable. I keep learning about them with every opportunity I get. This is awesome, celebrating Christmas and having fun."
The Young Athletes Program is a sports play program designed to introduce children ages 2-7 to the importance of physical activity. Children with and without intellectual disabilities participate together, prior to and regardless of Special Olympics eligibility at age 8.
The program uses physical activities to develop fundamental motor tracking and eye-hand coordination play. Children build these skills by participating in specific activities on a regular basis. The program concentrates on applying the skills learned through these activities in preparation for Special Olympics or traditional sports activities.
"They are amazing," Andrus said. "Every time I sit down and talk to them, I am amazed at how smart they are. To hang out with them, they make my night. I'm not here for them, they are here for me. To see their joy is amazing." (TR Sullivan - MLB.com - December 2015)
In October 2015, Elvis was hoping to see a World Series trophy hoisted at Globe Life Park in Arlington. Instead he had to settle for the Mona Lisa, Trevi Fountain, and the Colosseum. But that's what you do when your season comes to an end sooner than expected.
You take your family on a two-week European vacation to Madrid, Paris, and Italy. On the day the Mets and the Royals opened the World Series, Andrus and his girlfriend Cori Febles were having their picture taken in front of St. Peter's Basilica.
"It was an amazing trip," Andrus said. "It was the key to forgetting what happened. Just go away and get away from it all and relax. Don't think about anything or baseball."
Don't worry. Andrus would not have been in Rome if the Rangers had been in the World Series.
"We were planning to go in November," Andrus said. "But when we lost, I decided to move it up."
Andrus and his traveling companions found enough excitement in things like having Sangria and pork at Sobrino de Botin in Madrid, the oldest restaurant in the world, or dining at Le Jules Verne on the second level of the Eiffel Tower.
"This was my second time in Paris, but the first time all I saw was the Eiffel Tower," Andrus said. "This time I wanted to see everything. The view of Paris from the top of the Eiffel Tower was unbelievable. High on the list of things to see was the Louvre Museum, starring the Mona Lisa. The Mona Lisa was amazing," Andrus said. "It was really far away and inside bullet-proof glass, but it was really amazing to see a piece of history like that."
After Paris came Venice and a nice cruise down the Grand Canal in a gondola. Then it was off to Pisa, Florence, and finally the Eternal City. "That's where we spent the most time, in Rome," Andrus said. "Our hotel was near the Colosseum, the Trevi Fountain, everything."
The highlight for Andrus was being able to take his mother Elvia to see the Vatican.
"It was a dream come true to be able to take my mother to the Vatican," Andrus said. "We are Roman Catholic, and she always talked about being able to go to Rome and see the Vatican. She was walking around buying coins and stamps and everything. To be able to finally do that for her was a real blessing."
He also didn't have to worry about answering any questions about baseball. "Nobody recognized me," Elvis said. "In France, they aren't going to recognize you unless you're Derek Jeter, Mike Trout or Miguel Cabrera. That's just the way I like it. It was an amazing trip." (Sullivan - MLB.com - 2/24/16)
May 17-18, 2016: Andrus received a one-game suspension for his actions in the game against the Blue Jays.
Elvis bought a house in Dallas after signing a long-term extension with the team in 2013. He also owns a printing company called EA Signs, based in Arlington.
Andrus is the youngest of three brothers and one stepsister. His older brother, Erold, had a 10-year Minor League career and Andrus credits Erold's signing to opening the door for him.
Andrus' family still owns a Little League team in Maracay, Venezuela. He started playing at 4 years old. (Kruth - MLB.com - 10/3/16)
In 2017, Andrus represented Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic.
Feb 18, 2017: Andrus showed up at camp, and he said he has no limitations as he completes his recovery from offseason surgery to repair a sports hernia. Andrus said he needs to build up his strength and endurance, but otherwise he is good to go physically. His effort level is about 80-90 percent because he doesn't want to push it too early.
"I'm able to do everything," Andrus said. "I'm really happy with where I am physically. I know what I want to do. We're going in the right direction."
Andrus had to play through considerable physical discomfort last season. He injured his right groin muscle in May and continued to play through it. Eventually it led to a sports hernia, which is defined as a strain or tear in any of the soft tissue of the lower abdomen.
"Every month it got worse," Andrus said. "It got worse and worse, but I was able to play. There were times when there was a lot of pain, but for the most of the year, I was able to hustle and play hard."
Andrus was also able to avoid going on the disabled list for what would have been the first time in his career.
"There was never any extensive talk about that," manager Jeff Banister said. "Through the medical process and the trainers, we were aware. He was a guy we kept in contact with every day as to how he felt." (T.R. Sullivan - MLB.com - Feb 18, 2017)
December 15, 2016: Andrus made it an offseason to remember, proposing to his girlfriend Cori Febles with an elaborate set up to pop the question. He said his marriage proposal was more nerve-racking than a World Series.
June 1, 2017: Andrus married his longtime girlfriend, Cori Febles, at his home in Frisco, Texas. The couple is expecting their first child in July. They had been planning to wait until the offseason to get married, but impending parenthood changed everything.
"We want to be officially married before he comes into the world," Andrus said.
The nuptials were attended only by immediate family. A bigger celebration awaits this coming offseason in the Dominican Republic. (By T.R. Sullivan - MLB.com)
- Dec. 2017: Andrus and his wife, Cori Febles, held a wedding reception after officially tying the knot over the summer.
July 6-8, 2017: Andrus is a new father. His wife, Cori, gave birth to Elvis Emilio at 1:22 a.m. CT. Little Elvis, who weighed 8.1 pounds and measured 20.5 inches in length at birth, and Cori are doing well. (T,R, Sullivan-MLB)
At 18 years of age, Andrus was one of five players Atlanta dealt to Texas, and he's blossomed into one of the Rangers' most consistent players in the time since. Andrus, then just a 18-year-old two years removed from signing with the Braves out of his home country of Venezuela, remembers how "crazy" the day was.
Andrus was playing with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans, Atlanta's Class A Advanced affiliate, and he was understandably blindsided by the trade. To someone trying to ascend the ranks of the Minor Leagues and reach the Majors, it can feel like that team gave up on you. But thanks to the help of his brother, Andrus was able to see the bright side of being moved.
"It was a little shocking, but at the same time, my brother gave me the bright side of the trade: the opportunity to be in the big leagues a lot sooner than if I had stayed in the Braves' organization," Andrus said. "When I saw it that way, I thought, 'Oh, that's kind of true.' So as soon as I got here, I just kept working hard and tried to make everything work a lot sooner for me to get in the big leagues."
Andrus arrived at Class A Advanced Bakersfield, where the transition to a new team was made easier because the manager there, Carlos Subero, hailed from Venezuela as well.
"He called me right away," Andrus said. "Listening to him, I was like, 'OK, he's at least going to be a guy that I know, and it kind of makes everything easier.'"
"For me, it was easy. I was trying to do whatever Michael Young was doing offensively. There are guys who just want you to get better. They teach you the right way and they play the game hard, and that's all the things you see as a young player. It actually makes a lot of things easier for you."
Now, on the 10-year anniversary of the trade that brought the Rangers their shortstop of the past eight seasons, Andrus has been able to look back and use the lessons he learned then to step into a leadership role and share his own tips with younger players in the clubhouse.
"It makes a lot of difference to have somebody that's been in the game long enough and knows the goods and the bads, and how to react to different situations in the game," Andrus said. "You can experience that early in your career, and now that I went through all that, I have some times in the big leagues where I can teach younger guys how to go through the same things that I can see in myself from a few years ago. I think it's like a cycle to go through, and as long as you're willing to help, it's all good." (Butler - mlb.com - 8/7/17)
May 5, 2018: The 50 or so prep baseball players who showed up at Globe Life Park got a crash course in doing things the right way as part of the National PLAY Campaign to promote the importance of living a healthy lifestyle. The main message they got from the likes of Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus, head trainer Kevin Harmon and Don Hooton, whose son Taylor committed suicide after using anabolic steroids, was there are no shortcuts to success in baseball.
It's a message they believe got through to the players and coaches who came from all over North Texas. "It's really important," Andrus said. "They're at an age right now where they need good advice. They need a good way to do it. They're at a critical age for them as athletes. When I was that age, if I had good advice -- which I did -- it makes the whole thing different."
The boys heard from Andrus, Harmon, Hooton and others from the visiting bullpen at Globe Life Park before heading to different stations. They ran drills in the outfield, visited the weight room and heard about nutrition. The highlight for them was getting to hit in the batting cages, where Andrus worked with the players as they hit off a tee and offered tips.
It was an eye-opening day for many players, who had never been to Globe Life Park or met a Major Leaguer.
"I like seeing how [the Rangers] treat their players, how the trainers take care of them, how we take care of our players and seeing the differences," said Sam Hughes, a junior catcher from Quinlan High School. "I like seeing how the professionals do it, so I can start working my way up to it. It's scary to hear about PEDs. Kids my age are doing it, and there's no way you're supposed to be doing that."
Hughes is just the kind of player the program, which is in its 15th year, is trying to reach. Hooton said the average age for boys to start experimenting with PEDs is 15. Being able to talk to the players, along with some of their coaches and parents, was a huge opportunity. It also helps to have someone like Andrus on board. Andrus is on the All Me League advisory board for the Taylor Hooton Foundation. Andrus talked to the athletes about how, when he was 16, he saw other players taking shortcuts to try to get ahead. That just made him work harder.
The impact of the event will hopefully be felt for years to come.
"[Having role models like] Elvis and the other players across the league is extremely important," Hooton said. "Combined with getting to be in a Major League ballpark and having MLB and the management staff behind it, hopefully every one of these boys is going to remember their day on the field and remember the message they heard today. I think it all works together. We'll never know, but you hope that with these guys at their age, we can get them to think twice. For many of these kids, this will be the only time they get a message about the importance of proper diet, proper exercise, and not shortcuts." (A Andre - MLB.com - May 5, 2018)
Jan 19, 2019: This really was a Winter Caravan. The temperature was at 34 degrees with flecks of ice and snow on the ground when the Rangers showed up at Dr. Pepper Ballpark for their annual visit to the Frisco Roughriders. The weather didn't seem to bother Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus.
The fact that he was getting ready to take off for a family vacation to London and Paris may have had something to do with his cheerfulness. Andrus lets little upset him, including when it came time to make a final decision on his 2019 contract. The Rangers lost 95 games last season, and there may be more rough times ahead during the rebuild. But Andrus isn't ready to abandon ship, at least right now.
He decided not to exercise a clause that would have allowed him to opt out of the final four years of his contract. Andrus, who would have been walking away from a $58 million contract, said it was not a tough decision. "Not really," Andrus said. "Like I mentioned several times, I would love to retire as a Ranger—that is one of my dreams. It wasn't too hard, especially being hurt the whole year. I knew I wasn't going to take the risk or take the challenge of being a free agent."
It would have been a challenge. Andrus missed over two months with a fractured right elbow and ended up playing in just 97 games, the lowest of his 10-year career. In 2018, his .256 batting average and .308 on-base percentage were also the lowest of his career.
This is also another slow-moving offseason for free agents. Andrus could easily have been stuck in that logjam. He also has the same opt-out clause in his contract after next season. That's the last one, though. If Andrus declines that one, he is locked in with the Rangers through 2022—with a club option of $15 million for 2023. "We'll see how it goes this year, especially," Andrus said. "I'm really excited for the year. I think it's going to be a challenging one. But after this year, we'll see how it goes. We'll talk about it."
There is one primary reason why Andrus would consider getting out of his contract. Andrus, 30, has been on four division championship teams and played in two World Series. He likes winning, and that could be a challenge for the Rangers in the short-term until they complete their rebuild. "I don't see it that way," Andrus said. "I am really excited. First of all, it's a new year. Things are going to change, for sure. Chemistry is going to be different. I am really excited for us, especially our rotation."
"I know a lot of guys have been hurt, [and had] Tommy John [surgery]," Andrus said. "But if you see it on paper, if they are able to stay healthy, that's a good rotation. Not the top one in the league, but pretty good in my eyes." That's why a little snow and ice did not bother Andrus on a cold Saturday morning in North Texas. He is off to Europe and then to Spring Training, and sees only good times ahead for the Rangers.
"I'm really excited for it because everybody is going to take the next step, and we are already building that chemistry," Andrus said. "Eighty percent of the team has been working out together the whole offseason." (TR Sullivan - MLB.com - Jan 19, 2019)
2018: Andrus had the highest current WAR (30.0) of any Rangers player.
2019 Walk-up song: If you've so far avoided the so-insanely-catchy-it-will-get-stuck-in-your-head-for-the-rest-of-your-life-and-slowly-drive-you-insane children's song "Baby Shark," I advise you: Back away now. Save yourself while you can.
If you've decided to ignore my warning, well, I wish you luck. Because this season, when Elvis Andrus walks up to the plate, he'll be doing it to the tune of "Baby Shark." (Cut4-MLB.com-March, 2019)
Elvis is now an American citizen. Andrus, who is from Venezuela, was sworn in as a citizen of the United States in a ceremony in Dallas on July 26, 2019. Andrus flew back to Texas on the 25th, went through all the procedures the 26th, including passing a citizenship test, and was back in Oakland that night.
“It has been a long day for me,” Andrus said. “I’m really happy, really blessed and really honored to be a citizen. The whole day went really well. They treated me really nice. They gave me some tough questions, but I really studied a lot the last week. But everything was amazing. I had fun there; they did the orientation, too. I’m an American.”
Andrus has been working toward this for several years. His wife, Cori, is a naturalized citizen and both of his children, Elvis Emilio and Lucia Alessandra, were born in the United States.
“I was really nervous,” Andrus said. “I was like, let me slow down. It’s a lot more nerve-racking than playing baseball. I never felt like this. Amazing day going through it, coming here when I was 15, a lot of memories came back. The journey has been amazing, today is a day always to remember.”
Andrus said the hardest part was passing the citizenship test. The toughest question was how many amendments there are to the Constitution, Andrus said. He was required to get six of 10 correct. He answered the first six right and was done.
“I studied really hard,” Andrus said. “It’s 27 amendments. After the first two or three questions, the administrator said, 'I can tell you have been studying a lot.' I did prepare. I love learning about history and culture. I was really ready for the challenge.”
Andrus said he is still proud to be from Venezuela and plans to go back some day. But the country has been besieged by political and economic problems in the past. Andrus won’t forget his roots, but he's ready to embrace all that is involved in being an American citizen.
“I think I’m really into the history of the country and the immigration,” Andrus said. “I’m really into it, even two-to-three years ago. It doesn’t change anything, I always felt like an American. But I’m really glad to be an American. I was the only one in my house who wasn’t one.” (Sullivan mlb.com - 7/26/19)
August 2019 interview:
What is your most memorable hit? My first one in 2009 against Cliff Lee. He won the Cy Young the year before, and I was so scared. I didn’t want to start my career with a strikeout. But I got a double, so I think that’s the one that will always stick there. I gave the ball to my mom.
Fill in the blank: People think I am named for ____.
Elvis Presley. When I first came to the U.S., I thought it was going to be the most popular name here, knowing that everybody loved Elvis Presley. But actually, it’s the opposite. It was so weird to find that name. There’s been so many times that a lot of people ask me, “What’s your name? Elvis? Let me see your ID.”
What is the last good meal you had for breakfast? I usually eat the same, it’s really simple: I love pancakes, scrambled eggs with cheese on top. You have to have cheese. If it doesn’t have cheese, I don’t eat it. And bacon. I love bacon. I love the taste of bacon. Usually, I leave it for last. I eat everything, and the last thing I eat is the bacon so I can have the taste in my mouth.
Who would people be surprised to find out is in your phone? It’s a [social media] follow, if we can throw that one in there. I was a huge fan of her growing up—Melissa Joan Hart, the actress. I remember three years ago, I was going through my phone and I saw she was following me. It made my day because I used to watch her show every day. I’ve never talked to her. I don’t think I have the guts to. I’m really happy that she followed me. That actually literally made my year that time when I found that out.
What is your go-to karaoke song? I love to sing Al Green’s “Let’s Stay Together” because my mom loves that song. Every time that I sing karaoke, that’s my song. One, I know the lyrics—that’s the most important part. It’s a good song. It’s a mellow song. If you’re old, if you’re young, everybody likes it. (Jessica Camerato - MLB.com - Aug. 8, 2019)
Feb 6, 2021: The trade from the Rangers brought mixed emotions for Andrus, who has played only for the Rangers in his 12 Major League seasons after joining the club in a trade from the Braves in 2007. On one hand, Andrus said he will miss the relationships he developed in Texas over that time. But there is also a feeling of excitement, knowing he’ll join an A’s squad that is coming off an AL West championship and has reached the postseason in each of the past three years.
“When I found out the opportunity to play for Oakland opened up, it made sense for my career and where I’m at right now,” Andrus said. “I’m blessed to join the Oakland A’s. We’ve got an amazing team and a great group. I can’t wait to join the team and help any way I can to get back in the postseason and go deep.” (M Gallegos - MLB.com - Feb 6, 2021)
Aug 14-17, 2021: Andrus was on paternity leave to be with his wife, Cori, for the birth of their third child.
January 2005: Andrus signed as a free agent with the Braves and scout Rolando Petit, along with Julian Perez.
July 30, 2007: The Rangers sent Mark Teixeira and pitcher Ron Mahay to the Braves; acquiring Andrus, Jarrod Saltalamacchia, Neftali Feliz, and a player to be named later.
- February 7, 2012: Adrus and the Rangers agreed on a three-year deal worth $14 million.
So Elvis avoided arbitration.
April 1, 2013: Andrus and the Rangers agreed on an eight-year, $120 million extension, taking him through the 2022 season.
- Feb. 6, 2021: Texas sent Andrus, catcher Aramis Garcia, and $13.5 million to the A’s; acquiring DH Khris Davis, catcher Jonah Heim, and RHP Dane Acker.