Prince Fielder’s season is officially over with his second neck surgery in three years scheduled for Friday.
Dr. Drew Dossett will perform Fielder’s surgery to repair a herniation of his C4-C5 disk in Dallas. Dossett performed Fielder’s spinal fusion surgery in May 2014. Friday’s surgical area is just above the one in 2014. Fielder’s future in baseball remains in doubt.
His teammates, including Ian Desmond, are clearly saddened by the end of his season.
I respect the way he went about his business. He never made an excuse.
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“I’ve only been here a few months and Prince became like family to me,” Desmond said. “The way he’s gone about his business being a young player in the big leagues, having a lot of success. And now watching him firsthand dealing with a little bit of failure just gave me that much more respect for him.”
Desmond said he’ll remember Fielder running hard to first in the eighth July 18 in Anaheim. He beat out the play when the first baseman fumbled the ground ball.
.212 Prince Fielder’s batting average in 89 games this season, a career-low.
“It means a lot to me to see Prince, in his last at-bat, hit his fourth ground ball of the game to first base and the first baseman booted the ball and Prince beat it out,” Desmond said. “That’s a 250-pound man sprinting as hard as he can down the first-base line.”
It was Fielder’s last at-bat of the season, which ended with him going 0 for 4. Fielder finished with a .212 batting average, eight homers and 44 RBIs. The only other comparable season in his career was ’14, when he played 42 games before season-ending surgery.
He was placed on the disabled list the next day after disclosing to the club he was feeling pain and weakness in his neck and right arm.
“He never mentioned one thing to me about that,” Desmond said. “I didn’t know there was anything wrong with him until the news came out. That’s honorable to me. That’s All-Star-worthy in my eyes. I care about what’s inside the guy.”
Desmond said, if indeed Fielder’s career ends with this injury, he’d like to go out the same way: hustling to beat out a close play on the bases.
“Mind you, he’s got 300-plus career homers, $200 million coming his way, there’s not too many players in the big leagues who would run that ball out, especially with us down a few runs and that out couldn’t have meant anything,” he said.
“If there’s a way I want to go out, it’s going to be just like that. I think Prince feels the same exact way and hopefully, he’ll have peace with that. Hopefully he can get better and be back and he’s just as productive as he’s always been. I respect the way he went about his business. He never made an excuse.”
Lewis eyes return
Right-hander Colby Lewis expects to return from the DL during the last week of August. He’s eligible Aug. 21. He’s been out since June 22 with a strained right lat muscle. He threw from 75 feet Wednesday.
“It’s tough for me sitting at home not being able to contribute when I know I can help,” said Lewis, who is 6-1 with a 3.21 ERA in 15 starts. “I think it’ll be quicker than spring training. It’s not like one of those off-season programs where I haven’t thrown in three months.”
Outfielder Shin-Soo Choo threw from 95 feet Wednesday and reported feeling good. He also said he has no issues running. It’s the first action for Choo since he went on the DL July 19 with lower-back stiffness. He received an anti-inflammatory shot in Anaheim and is expected to return Aug. 4.