Rangers' Fielder to miss rest of season after neck surgery
MAY 22, 2014 5:32p ET
A disastrous season as far as injuries go for the Texas Rangers added another chapter Thursday when the club announced Prince Fielder will have surgery to repair a herniated disc in his neck. (Update: On Friday, Fielder was placed on the team's disabled list.)
The surgery, which is scheduled for Tuesday, will sideline the first baseman for the remainder of the season. Texas general manager Jon Daniels said the team is getting a second opinion but doesn't expect it to change the diagnosis. The recovery time for the surgery is typically three to four months.
Fielder will become the 15th player on the disabled list for Texas, the most of any major-league team this season.
"It's a challenge," Daniels said. "With every challenge comes opportunity for somebody else to step up and I think that's very much the case. I think you're seeing guys do that. You're not going to replace certain guys, and then when you've got the critical mass of injuries we have, the secondary challenge is to field a healthy, talented club.
"It is May. We're going to stay positive, stay the course."
Fielder, 30, played in 42 games for Texas after coming over in an offseason trade for Ian Kinsler. Fielder was expected to provide power in the middle of the lineup and durability — he played in 547 consecutive games before missing Saturday because of the disc issue.
Fielder, who had never been on the disabled list, will end his first season with the Rangers with three home runs and 16 RBI.
Fielder had a nerve root injection Saturday and felt better. That didn't last though as he tried to hit off a tee Tuesday and had some weakness and soreness in his left arm.
He didn't travel with the team to Detroit and met with spine specialist Dr. Drew Dossett Thursday, the fourth time meeting with Dossett in the last week. Fielder's symptoms were worse Thursday and now he'll have cervical fusion surgery.
"Unfortunately I wasn't surprised just because talking to him you knew this was something that was bothering him (Fielder)," Daniels said. "We were hoping that the (nerve root) injection could get him through the season, get him comfortable and get him through the season. His initial response was very positive so I was somewhat optimistic at the beginning of the week."
Fielder, who is making $24 million this season, is signed through 2020 with the Rangers paying all but $30 million of the $168 million remaining on his deal.
Fielder isn't the first key Rangers player to be lost for the season. Left-hander Martin Perez had Tommy John surgery Monday and will miss at least the next 12 months. Left-hander Matt Harrison is weighing his options and could have spinal fusion surgery, which could end his career.
The Rangers have also been without second baseman Jurickson Profar, catcher Geovany Soto and left-hander Derek Holland since the start of the season because of injuries. Daniels also said Thursday that Profar had re-strained his right arm muscle and will be sidelined for another eight to 12 weeks, although that timetable isn't a guarantee.
Profar, who hurt a muscle under his right arm in spring training, has been shut down. Profar thinks he re-injured his arm rolling over it the wrong way while sleeping. He saw team doctor Keith Meister Wednesday who confirmed a Grade 2 strain in the right arm of Profar, who still hasn't thrown to bases since hurting the arm the first time in spring training.
The Rangers could also be without outfielder Daniel Robertson, who suffered some non-displaced fractures in a collision with teammate Alex Rios in the outfield during Thursday's game in Detroit. Robertson is scheduled to meet with an ear, nose and throat doctor Friday.
The loss of Fielder moves Mitch Moreland back into a full-time role at first base. Moreland is hitting .286 this season with two home runs and 15 RBI.
Daniels said it's too early to think about looking outside the organization for help for a team that started Thursday eight games behind Oakland in the American League West.
"Our focus right now is getting the group of guys that is going to come back, that group that is trending towards return to play, ready to go," Daniels said. "Obviously the group of guys in the big leagues has put together a few good games, a few good days, this week. We'll see if we can build on that and let the team come together a little bit."
The Associated Press contributed to this report