UPDATE: Texas Rangers general manager Jon Daniels announced Thursday that Prince Fielder will get surgery to repair his injured neck, pending a second opinion. Fielder will miss 3-4 months and likely the rest of the season. The surgery will take place Tuesday.
It's yet another injury for a team that's been ravaged by them this season, but Fielder is no doubt the biggest. He was acquired in a blockbuster trade this winter that sent Ian Kinsler to the Detroit Tigers and immediately fueled World Series expectations in Arlington. Fielder is making $24 million this season, and thus far, he's only hit .247/.360/.360 with only three homers and 16 RBIs.
Meanwhile, the Rangers are below .500 and in fourth-place in the AL West. They currently have 13 players on the disabled list, including starters Derek Holland, Jurickson Profar, Martin Perez, Geovany Soto and Matt Harrison.
Fielder had been extremely durable until Saturday. He had played 547 consecutive games, more than three full seasons. But a hernidated disc in his neck ended that streak. The Rangers started a series in Detroit on Thursday, but Fielder stayed back in Texas for more tests, which revealed that surgery was the recommended option.
Common sense says the Rangers are now a suitor for free agent Kendrys Morales, but Daniels denied that Thursday. Here are some details from his press conference, via Bob Nightengale of USA Today:
Jon Daniels says the upside of Fieler's back surgery has high success rate and hopeful that he'll ready for 2015— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) May 22, 2014
Jon Daniels says the #Rangers focus is on their current group of players, and is not ready to delve into any talks with Kendrys Morales.— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) May 22, 2014
Jon Daniels on rash of #Rangers injuries: "I have not been on anything quite like this, across the board, to this degree.''— Bob Nightengale (@BNightengale) May 22, 2014
To make matters worse, Daniels said second baseman Jurickson Profar's recovery from a torn shoulder muscle has been delayed. He's out an additional 8-12 weeks after re-injuring himself while rolling over in bed.
ORIGINAL POST: Before Saturday, Prince Fielder had played 547 consecutive games. A herniated disc in his neck ended Fielder's games-played streak, and a new report suggests it might keep Fielder out of the lineup for much longer.
Jeff Wilson at The Fort Worth Star-Telegram is reporting that the Texas Rangers first baseman is seriously considering a neck surgery that would end his season. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports adds that Fielder is having more MRIs on Thursday.
Fielder stayed in Texas for the tests instead of traveling with the Rangers to his old stomping grounds of Detroit. The Rangers and the Detroit Tigers swapped Ian Kinsler and Fielder in last winter's biggest trade. The Tigers have won the deal so far (Kinsler is hitting .317 and they're in first place), and a shortened season for Fielder would close the book on any debate.
From Wilson's report:
[Fielder] was at the Carrell Clinic in Dallas visiting spine specialist Dr. Drew Dossett rather than at Comerica Park, where fans who had targeted him for their postseason failures a year ago had to find someone else to pick on.
Though Fielder received a nerve-root injection over the weekend, the shot doesn’t remove the chunk of disc from the nerve that is pinched and is causing weakness in Fielder’s left arm.
Only surgery can fix that. As of the opener of the four-game series, the Rangers are hoping that Fielder won’t become their 17th player to hit the disabled list this season.
“We flew out last night, I got here at 8 o’clock this morning, and I haven’t had any conversations with anyone yet,” manager Ron Washington said. “He could still fly here.
“I think he’s disappointed that he can’t be here not only for this series but for his team. It’s a situation where there wasn’t anything he could do about it. If he could, he would be here."
The Rangers have been ravaged by injuries this season — Derek Holland, Jurickson Profar, Martin Perez, Geovany Soto and Matt Harrison are among the lineup fixtures who have missed time. They currently have 13 players on the disabled list after some have returned to action.
Add to that Fielder, who even when healthy had been struggling, and it's a recipe for disappointment in Arlington. Fielder has hit .247/.360/.360 with only three homers and 16 RBIs. He's getting $24 million from the Rangers this season, and he'll get that annually until 2020.
Meanwhile, his team is 22-24 and in fourth place in the AL West, already eight games behind the first-place Oakland A's. That's not exactly what Rangers fans were expecting when they pulled off the trade to bring Prince to Texas. They were thinking World Series, not being a half-game behind the Seattle Mariners.
If Fielder's gone for the year, another Rangers regular hurt, then it might be time for Texas to consider the 2014 season a giant bust.
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