Andrus gets breather; Arias starts at first

Andrus gets breather; Arias starts at first

ARLINGTON -- Andres Blanco started at shortstop on Monday night in place of Elvis Andrus, who needed a breather, according to manager Ron Washington.

"[Andrus] played the last two games and it was very hot," Washington said. "He's played every game for almost two weeks. He needed a day. He's been grinding it out through Minnesota. He grinded it out through Chicago. He gives signs when he's getting tired, so I'm going to give him a day [off].

"He's a big part of our lineup. I just wanted to give him a day off so he can gather himself mentally and be ready to go [Tuesday]."

Washington said that Andrus is available to play Monday night if needed. Andrus made errors in back-to-back games over the weekend for the first time this season and just the second time in his career. He currently has a 12-game hitting streak and is hitting .450 with runners in scoring position, second best in the American League.

Joaquin Arias started at first base, just his third Major League start at first. Washington made it clear he is not unhappy with starting first baseman Justin Smoak.

With Seattle starting southpaw Cliff Lee in the opener, Washington said, "My only chance to get [Arias] some at-bats at first base is against a tough left-hander.

"If we've got a lead in the seventh, [Smoak's] out there."