Just in case the Rangers weren't plagued with enough injuries as is, the baseball God's have bestowed another setback on the team, with a herniated disk in the neck of first baseman Prince Fielder.
General manager Jon Daniels gave the following statement to the media Saturday afternoon:
“Prince has been suffering from some neck stiffness, which has progressively gotten worse over the past few weeks. He told us about three, four weeks ago, and it sounds like he’s been dealing with it for more than just this year. It’s gotten to a point where it’s been an issue for him, he was seen by Dr. Drew Dossett on Friday, and he has a herniated disk on his neck. It’s not a lumbar disk, it’s considerably worse on the scale of these things, so he got a nerve root injection today. He’s down the next couple days. The hope and expectation is that the injection takes and he’ll be available to play on Tuesday.”
With Fielder out of tonight’s lineup, his consecutive game streak will end at 547 games. The last time Fielder missed a game was September 13, 2010, and he currently had the 25th longest streak in major league history. Fielder’s desire to play in every game and be there for his teammates explains why his neck issues are just now becoming known.
“I think he had been pushing through this for awhile, had not really even shared it with anybody for some time” said Daniels. “It sounds like it had been bothering him last year as well. I don’t know when he first felt it, but he referenced having some neck stiffness beyond just this year.
Fielder has struggled to hit for power this season with the Rangers, and had some power issues last season with Detroit as well. It appears that Detroit was unaware of the issue, but it should also be noted that Fielder did not undergo a physical at the time of the trade.
“Neither Kinsler or Fielder went through a physical at that time” said Daniels. “Both guys finished healthy and medical teams on both sides exchanged information. He’d never been symptomatic so even had we done a physical, I don’t think we would have done x-rays or a MRI that’s not standard.”
When Fielder revealed to the medical staff that he was experiencing stiffness in his neck, the first course of action involved oral anti-inflammatories. Fielder saw some improvement at that time, and his average began to improve, however the positive effect was not enough. At this time, Dr. Dossett does not believe that Fielder will need surgery any time soon, or in the offseason, but surgery is possible if the necessary improvements do not take place. All faith lies in the nerve root injection Fielder received Saturday morning, with the Rangers hoping he will soon be back to his normal power.
Fielder is not expected to go on the DL any time soon, where he would join the 13 other Rangers that are currently on the DL. This week in particular has been a rough one for Texas, with Matt Harrison possibly facing spinal fusion surgery and Martin Perez likely undergoing Tommy John surgery. Daniels said that you can’t make this stuff up, and he’s right, but the Rangers are just going to have to face the cards they’ve been dealt.
“I think it’s part of the job” said Daniels. “it’s part of what we deal with every day, every year. Obviously this year has been to a negative extreme. I think we handle each one the best we can and then we try to get these guys back quickly. This is certainly better news than what we dealt with earlier in the week, where we’ve got a couple pitchers dealing with bigger, longer term issues.”
Fielder will spend the next two days resting at home, and is not available for comment at this time.