Prince Fielder did his best Friday to ease any fears the Texas Rangers faithful has about his surgically repaired neck.
"I’ll play a pickup game right now," Fielder said at the team’s Dr Pepper awards dinner. "I’m ready to go."
Fielder had surgery last May, ending his first season with the club and snapping his consecutive-games played streak at 547 games. Fielder, acquired from Detroit for Ian Kinsler, batted .247 with just three homers and 16 RBI.
While Fielder said he can’t pinpoint when the pain started he knows it’s gone now and that’s all that matters. He’s eager to put 2014 behind him.
"It was real difficult because I wasn’t used to missing games," he said. "So to miss a lot of the season, it was difficult at first but I had to be an adult about it and kind of try to just get back healthy to be ready this year."
Fielder said the injury has led to him changing his workout routine. He said he’s doing more stuff now that he would have done in the past. He declined to put any numbers on what he expects out of the 2015 season.
He just wants to play.
"I’m just going to try and be healthy," he said. "That’s my main goal because I know I always said that before, but being this was the first time I wasn’t healthy really means a lot to me now to try and stay healthy. That’s just my goal to stay healthy and make sure I’m doing everything I can to be ready to play."
The Rangers realize the importance of a healthy Fielder too.
"It means we can get the guy we are accustomed to seeing," third baseman Adrian Beltre said. "We all know what he can do. If he can get back to his form of being healthy it’s a real plus. When you have a guy like that that plays every day, plays hard and produces it will give us more balance."
Not only does Fielder want to stay healthy in 2015, he still wants to play every day. He realizes that might not be an option and he said he told general manager Jon Daniels that since he’s had one injury he’ll miss one game.
It sounds like that would be fine with his family too, who may have seen too much of Fielder in 2014.
"I drove them crazy," he said. "I’m sure they were tired of seeing me all the time."
The Rangers would like to see Fielder all the time in 2015.