Fielder to miss few games with herniated disk in neck
Slugger gets nerve-blocking injection that hopefully addresses issue
ARLINGTON -- Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder has been diagnosed with a herniated disk in his neck and will be sidelined for the next couple of days. He has received a nerve-blocking injection that the Rangers hope will alleviate the problem and get him back in the lineup as early as Tuesday.
General manager Jon Daniels said a herniated disk in the neck is not as serious as one in the lower back. Fielder is not expected to need surgery if the injection addresses the problem, and he has not been put on the disabled list.
Fielder indicated to the Rangers last month that he has been dealing with this issue for some time, possibly going back to last year with the Tigers. He was given oral anti-inflammatory medication, but that didn't quite take care of the stiffness. The next step was the injection.
"He takes a lot of pride in being there for his teammates," Daniels said. "We told him that he is not letting anybody down, we've just got to get this right."
Fielder has played in all 42 games for the Rangers, but was out of the lineup on Saturday night -- with Mitch Moreland playing first base. That ended Fielder's streak of 546 consecutive games played. He is hitting .247, with three home runs, 16 RBIs and a .360 slugging percentage. His career slugging percentage is .522, and the neck problem likely contributed to what was going on with him at the plate.
"It's hard to say exactly, but it makes some sense," Daniels said. "If you put two and two together, it stands to reason it affected him some. He said there was a lack of strength in his left arm that may have impacted his ability to hit for power."
Daniels said Fielder did not undergo a physical after being acquired from the Tigers this offseason for second baseman Ian Kinsler. He did have a standard physical in Spring Training, but was not examined for this issue because nobody was aware at the time it was a problem. Fielder did not inform the Rangers until after the regular season began.
The Rangers had just two position players on the bench for Saturday's game against the Blue Jays. The Rangers are expected to call up a position player -- most likely outfielder Daniel Robertson -- for Sunday's game and drop one of their extra relievers.
"Basically, we wanted to get through [Saturday's] game from a pitching standpoint," said Daniels, "and get back the position player tomorrow."
T.R. Sullivan is a reporter for MLB.com Read his blog, Postcards from Elysian Fields and follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.