DETROIT — Prince Fielder was placed on the disabled list Friday, days before he is scheduled to have season-ending neck surgery.
The move by the Texas Rangers came a day after the team said Fielder would have cervical fusion surgery Tuesday for the herniated disc in his neck. General manager Jon Daniels said he expected a second opinion to confirm the initial recommendation for the operation.
It is the first time the durable first baseman has been on the DL in his career. Before a nerve root block injection to treat his neck last Saturday, Fielder’s 547 consecutive games played was the longest active streak in the majors. Fielder, who turned 30 earlier this month, missed only one game the previous five seasons and hadn’t missed a game since Sept. 14, 2010.
Fielder went on the 15-day DL, retroactive to May 17.
Infielder Donnie Murphy was recalled from an injury rehab assignment and activated for the game against the Tigers. Mitch Moreland was set to start at first base, where he played last year before the trade for Fielder pushed him toward the designated hitter role.
”A big blow for us as a team, losing him in the middle of the lineup,” Moreland said. ”But we’ve been dealing with adversity all year.”
Moreland hit 23 home runs last season. He was hitting .275 entering Friday night’s game at Detroit.
”Prince is on the DL. We don’t have him,” manager Ron Washington said. ”And there’s nobody who can replace him, so let Mitch Moreland be Mitch Moreland. Don’t even mention Mitch Moreland in the same breath with a Prince Fielder.”
Murphy was placed on the disabled list May 8 with a neck strain. He was hurt when he tripped at first base trying to beat out a ground ball the previous day against Colorado. He played six games on an injury rehab assignment at Triple-A Round Rock, and Friday was the date he was eligible to return to the roster.
The Rangers have a majors-high 13 players on the disabled list. They have had 17 DL placements this season, also the most in the majors.
Fielder hit .247 with three home runs and 16 RBI in 42 games in his first season with the Rangers. The only time he has played fewer games was when he appeared in 39 as a rookie in 2005 with Milwaukee.
The Tigers, meanwhile, sent minor-league infielder Francisco Martinez outright to Double-A Erie, a move that cleared room on the 40-man roster for right-hander Corey Knebel. Knebel’s contract was purchased by the Tigers from Triple-A Toledo.