Hometown kid Fields excited to join Tigers

In 48 games with the Mud Hens this season, Daniel Fields has hit .271 with a .394 on-base percentage 15 doubles, seven triples, three home runs and 21 RBI.

Reinhold Matay

DETROIT — What a difference a year makes.

A year ago at this time, all Daniel Fields could do is look at the cast on his hand and rue his bad luck.

The Tigers were beset with injuries and calling players up from Triple-A Toledo left and right but Fields was not among them because of a broken right hand suffered when he was hit by a pitch.

On Tuesday, the Tigers called Fields up from Toledo to take the spot of Rajai Davis, who is on paternity leave with his wife due to give birth to their second child.

"I was going through rehab stages, those hot days down in Florida, I was just — I wouldn’t say miserable, but it was tough," said Fields, sitting in front of his locker in the Comerica Park clubhouse. "Especially last year with all the guys being called up, I was always thinking, man, that could have been me."

In 75 games with the Mud Hens last season, Fields struggled to regain his form, finishing the season with a .219 average, .273 on-base percentage, 10 doubles, three triples, six home runs and 26 RBI.

The Tigers sent Fields to the Arizona Fall League so he could get some extra work in and it paid off.

With the Glendale Desert Dogs, Fields batted .255 with a .375 on-base percentage, one home run and three RBI in 12 games.

"I had a leg kick last year and when they told me I was going to the Fall League, I thought it would be the perfect time to work on something, what I was doing the year before and being out there, facing the top competition, I was able to work on some things and get my swing together," Fields said.

Fields was able to take that experience into the offseason and with the help of his father, Bruce Fields, a former Tiger and current Tigers minor league hitting instructor, improve his swing.

"There were times that I didn’t know if I’d see this moment," Bruce Fields said after giving his son a pre-game hug. "I hate to be a pessimist. But if it’s meant to be, it’ll happen. I just needed to back away and let him handle it."

In 48 games with the Mud Hens this season, Daniel Fields has hit .271 with a .394 on-base percentage 15 doubles, seven triples, three home run and 21 RBI.

Daniel Fields actually broke the news of his call-up on his Twitter account, @dfields_23, after the Mud Hens’ doubleheader with Columbus Monday night.

Daniel Fields said, "Wow!! Words can’t describe how happy I am! Been a long road but well worth it. Can’t wait to put on that uniform baby!!"

Of course, Mud Hens manager Larry Parrish and hitting coach Leon "Bull" Durham couldn’t just tell Fields the news normally.

"Bull was like, ‘Hey, you know, we’re actually going to send you down to Double-A, they got a four-game series and they’re facing all lefties and we feel like it’ll be good for you to get some more work in. So we’re going to send you down there and hopefully you go down for a couple games and come back,’" Daniel Fields said. 

Daniel Fields said his father was happy for him, but his mom and brother were the ones who really got excited.

"They were screaming and running around the house," Daniel Fields said with a laugh. "I was talking to my mom and it kind of sounded like she was about to start crying a little bit. So that kind of made me a little emotional too. I held it together pretty good."

Bruce Fields said his his wife, Julie, took the call and at first he didn’t know what was going on.

"She could hardly talk," Bruce Fields said. "Then she finally blurted it out. ‘Danny got called up!’ It was a pretty cool moment."

Daniel Fields said he had to leave 12 tickets but other family members and friends, including high school friends from University of Detroit Jesuit High School, said they would buy tickets and were coming to Tuesday night’s game.

Bruce Fields said his phone was going as crazy as his son’s as he heard from former teammates, some of the players he coached and many relatives all over the country.

"You can’t imagine how happy I was and am to see him in a big league uniform during the major league season," Bruce Fields said. "It’s unbelievable. I’m happy for him, I’m happy for our family and all our friends."

Although Daniel Fields has worn a Tigers jersey in spring training, he said it would be different wearing it during the regular season.

"This is what I dreamed about coming to the field with my dad every day," Daniel Fields said. "When I was 12, that’s when I realized baseball was what I wanted to do. I thought there’s other teams out there, but being able to play for the Tigers would be very special. Now that dream’s come true. Especially being from Detroit, playing in the city and all that, it means a lot."