Prince Fielder, the most recent victim of the Rangers’ injury bug, is not at Globe Life Park Sunday afternoon.
“From what I understand, that’s what the doctor suggested,” manager Ron Washington said before Sunday’s matinee first pitch.
Fielder was diagnosed with a herniated disk in his neck and received a nerve-root injection on Saturday. Washington said Fielder will be back on Tuesday (after the club’s day off on Monday), and that he expects his historically power-hitting first baseman back in the lineup.
“I have to wait until he gets here and see how he feels,” Wash said. “That’s why we did what we did yesterday, to give him the time off that he needed.”
Washington said Fielder has felt relief after Saturday’s injection, and if that relief translates to a full recovery from the discomfort in his neck, the Rangers could see a different hitter in the middle of their lineup.
“He’s had a weak back side, and the back side is your power,” he said. “It takes 600 at-bats to hit 30-something bombs. I think if everything is well, he’ll get 30-something bombs.”
Fielder has just three home runs in 150 at-bats thus far in 2014. Despite going hitless in his last game Friday, Fielder is hitting .333 in the month of May to raise his season batting average to .247.
Although Fielder has 288 career home runs, his power numbers have been on the decline in recent years.
His 11 extra base hits this season, however, give him just an extra-base hit percentage of only 7.3 percent. Even in an “off year” last season, Fielder recorded extra-base hits in 9.8 percent of his at-bats. That number stood at 11 percent in 2012 and 13.2 percent in 2011.
He hit at least 30 home runs in each season between 2007 and 2012, before knocking 25 out of the park last year.
Robertson recalled, Mikolas optioned
The Rangers announced a roster move Sunday, bringing Daniel Robertson back to the major league club. To make room for Robertson, relief pitcher Miles Mikolas was optioned to Triple-A Round Rock.
"It's good to be back and be around these guys," Robertson said. "They're very positive, and they love to win. When you're involved in that environment it's great to be around."
Robertson will be in his second stint with the Rangers, as he made his big league debut with the club during his first stint from April 23-May 6. He was optioned to Round Rock on May 7 when the team initially added right-handed pitcher Scott Baker to the roster.
Robertson was acquired in a minor league trade with San Diego on April 23 and had his contract purchased by the Rangers that day. He batted .182 (2-11) in 6 games/one start during his first stint with Texas. Robertson hit .222 (6-27) with a homer, triple, and 3 RBI over 7 games with the Express, hitting safely in each of his last 4 games. He went 2-for-5 with 2 steals in his last game on Friday at Iowa.
Although he hasn't gotten a lot of at-bats, Robertson said it's the same game whether it's in the minors or with the big league team, and he's making the most of his playing time.
"I'm trying to earn that utility stamp," he said.
Robertson might make the trek up and down Interstate 35 between Arlington and Round Rock a few times this season.
"If so, I'll hit the ground running," he said. "You just have to embrace it. If I go down there I'll just have to work on things and play hard."
Robertson said spending time with the big club is special, no matter how brief his stint.
"It's a dream, so you've got to treat it that way," he said.