Breaking out of a slump takes more than a few shakes of burning incense as an offering to the baseball gods, but there’s a consensus that Prince Fielder will shake out of his doldrums and sooner rather than later.
In the Rangers’ perfect world, Fielder’s re-emergence would coincide with the end of April.
And perhaps nothing could better solve the Rangers’ inconsistencies on offense than Fielder’s return to form.
As the month of April ended, the Rangers’ first baseman was hitting .206 with two home runs and nine RBIs. His slugging percentage is an unprincely .314.
“I’d like to have 20 homers by now, but I don’t,” said Fielder, who has hit mostly out of the No. 3 hole with few exceptions, other than Adrian Beltre’s absence. “It’ll definitely come around.
“If there was something I could do to make it all go away, I’d have done it the third game of the season. I’m not really sure what to do, except play hard.”
In two losses this week to Oakland, few run opportunities have presented themselves in the middle of the order.
Despite his struggles, teams have treated Fielder with the utmost respect. His nine intentional walks in April is an American League record.
Another noticeable trend since Fielder’s arrival through the Ian Kinsler trade with Detroit in the off-season is the shift. Many teams play both the shortstop and second baseman on the second base side when he is at-bat.
Fielder has appeared to try to go the other way in recent games, though he said Wednesday that’s not intentional.
“Once he gets locked in, you’ll see a lot of balls going … through it, over it and around it,” manager Ron Washington said.
Elvis ‘a little lost’
Elvis Andrus disagrees, but perhaps no one needs Thursday’s off day more than the shortstop, who admitted to feeling “a little lost” at the plate.
After an 0-for-2 night Wednesday, Andrus is in the midst of a 3-for-36 slide in his last 10 games and has seen his average take a dive, from .304 to .229.
“What I need is a good game,” said Andrus after being asked if a day off Wednesday coupled with the off day might not help. “That will help me more than a day off.
“It only takes one at-bat to be back.”
Perhaps he and Washington changed their minds about some rest. Andrus left Wednesday’s game in the fifth after going hitless and committing two errors, one of which led to four Oakland runs.
Choo back at DH
Shin-Soo Choo made a second consecutive appearance at designated hitter on Wednesday, though his preference was to be back to his regular spot in left field.
Washington wanted to give Choo’s healing left ankle an extra day without the burden of playing the field. Choo will be back in left against Anaheim on Friday.
Mitch Moreland made his first career start in left on Wednesday against Oakland right-hander Jesse Chavez.