Prince Fielder’s first home run of 2015 came Tuesday night in the eighth inning of the Rangers’ 7-1 win against the Diamondbacks at Chase Field.
It was a two-run shot to right that capped a four-run inning for the Rangers. It was a moment just about everyone connected with the Rangers was unabashedly happy to see.
As for Fielder? Eh, nothing he hasn’t done 289 times before. The 30-year old slugger was indifferent about getting the first homer under his belt, insisting rather, that driving in runs is his only concern.
“I’m satisfied with getting the run in,” he said. “It’s about driving in runs. Home runs are good. It’s just another way of getting a lot of RBIs with one swing.”
Rangers manager Jeff Banister, who had spent much of his pregame media session urging patience with Fielder’s power, was more overtly satisfied for his first baseman after the game. Fielder nearly homered in his first at-bat Tuesday night but settled for a 400-foot ground-rule double to drive in the Rangers’ first run.
“I know everybody has been wanting to see the power, we’ve wanted to see the power,” he admitted. “It showed up tonight. I know he’s been looking for the first one, too. He got it under his belt and it’ll give him the confidence to let the barrel go. This is a guy who has been an RBI hunter his whole career.”
Fielder insisted getting his first homer out of the way wasn’t much of a concern. If anything, he suggested, getting the first one in the books was good so that it’s no longer a topic of media questioning. It’s his first homer since May 8 and first homer on the road since September 2013.
“No, just you talking about it does. I’m here to drive in runs. That’s my job,” he said. “”As long as I’m hitting the ball hard and getting on base and driving in runs I’m doing my job.”
Returning from neck surgery a year ago hasn’t been a factor in his low power numbers out of the gate. With his double and homer Tuesday he now has five extra-base hits in 57 at-bats. In his injury-shortened 2014 season, he had 11 (eight doubles) extra-base hits in 150 at-bats.
“I knew I was healthy,” he said. “I just had to get back in the swing of things, get my timing back.”
Here’s a look at when Prince Fielder collected his first homer since he came up as a rookie and played in 39 games in 2005, with his season total each year:
No. 2 (hit 2)
No. 4 (hit 2)
Stefan Stevenson, 817-390-7760