"After next year, he should be everything that everybody always thought he would be," Washington said. "He should have it all figured out. It takes about five years for a player to recognize who he is and how to stay within himself."
Entering his fourth season, Andrus has five hits in seven at-bats in three Cactus League games and has made every play on defense. He also walks with a quiet confidence in the clubhouse.
That was not always the case in previous years.
"When I first got to the big leagues [as a player] I had to go through growing pains, too. That's a part of teaching, and that's a part of the process," Washington said. "With a talent like that under my watch, I don't want to see him not understand how important he is to the club and how important his position is to the club, and to never take his abilities for granted. That's why I will always be on him so hard."
But make no mistake, showing Andrus "some love" is also part of Washington's plan.
"I'm going to be hard on him because he makes me be hard on him," the manager said. "I don't just do it to do it. I stay out of his way until he does something I don't like and then I'll let him know."