Fielder's place is set in Rangers' lineup

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by TED MADDEN

WFAA

Posted on February 20, 2014 at 4:00 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 20 at 4:20 AM

SURPRISE, Arizona — The Texas Rangers' offensive savior walked into the clubhouse Wednesday wearing a Mickey Mouse T-shirt.

With a team led by the gregarious Adrian Beltre and Elvis Andrus, Prince Fielder will fit right in.

Last year's Rangers scored fewer than four-and-a-half runs per game, its worst offense in 21 years. Fielder's ability to hit the long ball will go a long way to fix that.

"I think everybody who's in the big leagues has pressure just because you want to do well and help your team win," Fielder said about his move to Texas. "Mostly that pressure is put on by yourself because you want to be the best you can be."

The additions of Fielder and Shin Soo Choo should bring consistency to this lineup that the Rangers didn't have last year.

Manager Ron Washington said Wednesday that his lineup is pretty much set, with Choo leading off, Fielder batting third, and Beltre fourth, and that shouldn't change.

"He's always protected people, so now he got somebody to protect him," Washington said "You gotta' pick your poison — you either pitch to Prince, or you walk him and pitch to Beltre, or you walk him and pitch to Rios. It's not going to be easy."

"They brought a lot of balance to our lineup," said shortstop Elvis Andrus. "Two things that we needed last year were power, and trying to get more on base. And I think those are the two best guys in those two categories."

Fielder spent the off-season doing mixed martial arts training, and although he doesn't know how much weight he lost (because he says scales aren't allowed in his house), he knows he lost some.

"I just want to be more athletic and not carry around so much weight," Fielder said.

That's fine, as long as he hasn't lost any pop. Fielder has averaged 35 home runs in eight full big league seasons.

E-mail tmadden@wfaa.com

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