People doubted Prince Fielder.
Some thought the slugger would never be the same after undergoing neck surgery last season. Those doubts, however, should have subsided during spring training when he used teammate Rougned Odor to do squats.
“I can feel both my arms. It feels good,” Fielder said. “That helps. That definitely helps when you’re hitting.”
Yes, feeling your arms indeed helps, and his numbers back up that crazy theory. Fielder is hitting .344, good for fourth in the American League, and also has five home runs and 23 RBI through the Texas Rangers first 38 games of the season.
But while the Rangers, who play twice this week on Sling TV, have nothing but good news in Fielder this season, they once again have been hurt by injuries. They lost their ace, Yu Darvish, to season-ending elbow surgery before the season even began. They also are without Jurickson Profar, Martin Perez, Nick Tepesch, Matt Harrison and Derek Holland, among others.
Ask manager Jeff Bannister about the disabled list, though, and he’ll say he doesn’t lose sleep over it.
“When one guy goes down, you put another one in his place and keep it moving,” he said. “It is what it is. It’s the nature of the game. It happens in baseball.”
Last season the Rangers used an MLB-record 64 players and lost nearly 2,300 days lost to the disabled list—and they have a shot at beating both of those numbers again this season.
Some help is on the way in the form of outfielder Josh Hamilton, who the Angels unloaded for next to nothing, allowing Hamilton to return to the team where he became a star. He’ll pair nicely with Fielder in a lineup that could stand to score a few more runs.
While the Rangers are already nine games behind their state and division rival Houston Astros, there’s still a lot of baseball to be played, and Fielder is playing so well he feels like dancing.
Here’s this week’s schedule:
Monday, May 18
St Louis Cardinals* at New York Mets, 7pm ET (ESPN)
John Lackey vs Matt Harvey
*Subject to blackout in some markets
Wednesday, May 20
Texas Rangers at Boston Red Sox, 7pm ET (ESPN)
Phil Klein vs Joe Kelly
Sunday, May 24
Texas Rangers at New York Yankees, 8pm ET (ESPN)
Yovani Gallardo vs Chris Capuano