Elvis Andrus out with tattoo soreness, the latest weird baseball injury


Elvis Andrus was camera-ready at least. (Charlie Riedel / AP)

Texas Rangers shortstop Elvis Andrus wasn’t quite ready to play today in a Cactus League game against the Cleveland Indians.

That’s because his left biceps was still sore from a new tattoo. Andrus apparently used his day off Wednesday to get a shoulder-to-elbow ink tribute to his late father.

“Elvis has been working hard, and having another off day isn’t going to hurt him,” Rangers manager Ron Washington said. “He’ll be ready tomorrow.”

In the annals of weird baseball injuries, Andrus gets points for a modern twist if not for true oddity. Marty Cordova burned his face because he fell asleep in a tanning bed. Sammy Sosa’s sneezes caused back spasms that sidelined him. Jose Cardenal once claimed that his eyelid was stuck shut. Another time, he pleaded exhaustion because crickets had kept him up all night. That’s a pretty tough lineup to crack. In a 2004 column, The Post’s Tom Boswell noted that weird injuries are all part of the game’s lore, like not talking to a pitcher who has a no-hitter in progress.

In baseball, the tradition of injuries, and excuses for them, is so exotic that players simply tell the truth, no matter how preposterous. After all, if Vince Coleman could be eaten by an automated tarp before a World Series game, then Joaquin Andujar truly summed up the issue when he said, “There’s one word that tells you everything about baseball: You never know.”

Marty Cordova might have fibbed. Actually, maybe he should have. Instead, he couldn’t play because he’d fallen asleep in a tanning bed and burned his face too badly. John Smoltz scalded his chest while ironing a shirt — that he was wearing. Henry Cotto didn’t see a teammate coming before he put that Q-Tip in his ear. Oops! How was Bret Barberie supposed to know that you temporarily lose your vision if you accidentally rub chili sauce in your eyes?

However, of all the game’s documented, rather than apocryphal, self-inflicted injuries, the prize may go to Clarence “Climax” Blethen. A 30-year-old Red Sox rookie, Blethen thought that he looked older and meaner if he took out his false teeth when he pitched and kept them in his hip pocket. Yes, he forgot to put them back in his mouth. So, on Sept. 21, 1923, while sliding into second base to break up a double play, Climax Blethen bit himself in the butt.

Follow @CindyBoren on Twitter and on Facebook.

After spending most of her career in traditional print sports journalism, Cindy began blogging and tweeting, first as NFL/Redskins editor, and, since August 2010, at The Early Lead. She also is the social media editor for Sports.

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Cindy Boren · February 28, 2013