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.)
"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.
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.
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.
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.
"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."