Texas Rangers designated hitter Prince Fielder was named the 2015 American League Comeback Player of the Year after batting .305 with 23 home runs and 98 RBI.
A neck injury limited Fielder to 42 games in 2014, his first season with the Rangers.
The award is selected by the 30 MLB.com beat reporters. New York Mets pitcher Matt Harvey earned the National League honor.
I kind of felt I’d be confident to at least be able to play. But I didn’t know how I’d play.
Rangers DH Prince Fielder on returning from 2014 neck surgery
“It’s really awesome. It was a lot of hard work to get back and be able to play,” Fielder said. “At first, it was just a lot of stuff for my neck and stuff for my shoulder to allow me to stop using my upper body ... I was trying to get my legs into it and to use my hips properly.”
Fielder said early in spring training that he felt great after recovering from season-ending neck surgery on May 27. The procedure was a cervical fusion of the C5-C6 discs in his neck. From the beginning of the season it was apparent. He led the Rangers offense as the most consistent hitter, finishing with 187 hits, third most in the league and tied for third with 57 multi-hit games. He finished in the top 10 in RBI and batting average.
“I kind of felt I’d be confident to at least be able to play. But I didn’t know how I’d play,” he said. “I can still lift [weights]. I might be stronger because I focused on the little muscles more than just the muscles for the beach.”
He started 157 games, 139 as DH and 18 at first base. He was previously named the Rangers’ Player of the Year by the local chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America.
Fielder finished in the top 10 in batting average (.305), RBI (98), hits (187), on-base percentage (.378).
Fielder had already earned A.L. Comeback Player of the Year honors by The Sporting News from a vote of A.L. players. He’s one of three finalists (Kendrys Morales and Alex Rodriguez) for the Players Choice A.L. Comeback Player of the Year, which will be announced Nov. 9 on the MLB Network.
Wilson a free agent
Catcher Bobby Wilson has elected to become a free agent after clearing waivers. Wilson joined the Rangers after being received from the Tampa Bay Rays in a July 31 waiver claim. He hit .221 with one home run and 10 RBI in 31 games with the Rangers.
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760