Rangers notes: Neck injury sidelines Prince Fielder, snapping his consecutive games streak

Posted Saturday, May. 17, 2014  comments  Print Reprints
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Prince Fielder was the active leader in consecutive games played, but that streak ended Saturday.

The Texas Rangers first baseman sat out Saturday’s game and also will miss Sunday’s game at least after receiving an injection for a herniated disk in his neck. He had played in 547 straight games.

Fielder has been playing through the injury for the last few weeks, but the team decided this would be the best route under the recommendation of Dr. Drew Dossett, a back specialist.

“He takes a lot of pride in being there for his teammates and playing every day,” general manager Jon Daniels said. “We got to a point where [manager Ron Washington] and the medical team told him, ‘You’re not letting anybody down. We want to get you right.’ 

The neck issue helps explain why Fielder hasn’t been the power threat most expected when the Rangers acquired him in a blockbuster trade this off-season.

Fielder, 30, has batted .247 with three home runs and 16 RBIs in 42 games with the Rangers. He has been hitting better of late, but his power numbers have remained down from his career averages.

“Putting two and two together, it stands to reason it would be affecting his swing,” Daniels said. “He described it as a lack of strength in his left arm as the main symptom. For the type of hitter he is, I certainly think that could impact his ability to hit for power.”

The Rangers believe Fielder will be ready to go when the team opens a two-game series against Seattle on Tuesday.

Perez picks surgery

Left-hander Martin Perez decided that having Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery rather than trying to non-surgically rehab a partial tear in the ulnar collateral ligament in his left elbow is the best route for him and the Rangers.

Perez announced Saturday that he would have Tommy John surgery. The procedure will take place Monday and be performed by team physician Keith Meister.

“I think it’s the best decision for me now,” Perez said. “I’m young and I just want to go out for one year and come back next year. It’s not an easy decision for me.”

Perez, 23, ends his 2014 season at 4-3 with a 4.38 ERA over eight starts. He got off to an impressive start, tossing two complete-game shutouts and earning player of the month honors for April.

But he lost his final three starts, compiling a 12.83 ERA over that stretch, and complained of elbow discomfort after his last start May 10 vs. Boston.

Proceed with caution

Derek Holland feels he’s ready to begin a medical rehabilitation assignment, but the team is “tapping the breaks on that,” Daniels said.

The Rangers will have Holland continue his rehab on their upcoming road trip and want him to continue strengthening the muscles around his left knee. He had microfracture surgery on it in January.

“We just don’t want him to be at risk,” Daniels said. “When he comes back, we want him to have confidence and us to have confidence that we’re not putting the knee at further risk or something else at risk because he’s compensating for it.”

Briefly

• Nick Martinez returns to the rotation Sunday for his first start since April 22. He made two relief appearances earlier this week but won’t be on a strict pitch count. Said Martinez: “We’re going to let the game dictate my pitch count. I’m going to try and go as long as I can.”

• Right-hander Justin Germano cleared waivers and is deciding whether to accept an outright assignment to Triple A Round Rock. He has the right to take free agency if he chooses.

• Knuckleballer R.A. Dickey starts Sunday for the Blue Jays. Said Washington: “There’s an old saying about hitting a knuckleball — if it’s high, let it fly. If it’s low, let it go.”

One of Washington’s 20 career home runs came against Hall of Fame knuckleballer Phil Niekro.

Drew Davison, 817-390-7760 Twitter: @drewdavison

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