It has been a disappointing start to the 2014 season for the Texas Rangers, but things got much worse Thursday with the news that Prince Fielder will miss the rest of the season due to a neck surgery. Bob Nightengale of USA Today filled fans in on the details:
Fielder was only hitting .247 on the year with three home runs and 16 RBI, and his neck has been bothering him for quite some time. Still, even with Fielder’s slow start, taking his bat out of the middle of the lineup is a major blow to an offense that ranks a middling 18th in runs this year.
Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram provided a bit more context:
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.
This isn’t the first unfortunate injury to ravage the team, as Nightengale pointed out:
In fact, Fielder marks the 17th player to hit the disabled list on the young campaign for the snakebitten Rangers.
Ironically, Thursday marked the first showdown of the year between the Rangers and the Detroit Tigers. The Rangers traded Ian Kinsler for Fielder during the offseason, but the slugging Fielder won’t have a chance to show his old team what it is missing.
Texas is looking up at both the Oakland Athletics and the Los Angeles Angels in the American League West standings and is dead even with the Seattle Mariners, so this spate of injuries does not portend well for its postseason chances.
Perhaps of more concern is the fact that Fielder still has six years remaining on his contract. He is already 30 years old, and it will likely take some time to round back into form after missing 120 games of the 2014 campaign.
He may never be the power hitter he was in Milwaukee and Detroit for his newest club.