Prince Fielder isn’t happy about manager Jeff Banister’s decision to give him a break from the game, and instead wants the chance to correct his prolonged slump during games.
The Texas Rangers’ designated hitter was on the bench for the second consecutive game in favor of Jurickson Profar, who entered Sunday with an eight-game hitting streak. Fielder, meanwhile, is hitting .187, it hitless in his past 12 at-bats and is batting .156 in his last 24 games.
Asked Sunday if he was OK with the Banister’s idea to “unplug” him and give him a chance to gather himself while not in the lineup, Fielder answered, “[Expletive deleted] no.”
“It’s his call,” Fielder said. “I understand it’s his call. You’ve got to respect that.
“I’m just going out there and giving what I’ve got. It is what it is. I’ve never been in this before, but it happens. It’s baseball.”
Banister was fine with Fielder not agreeing with the decision to pull him from the lineup, but also said that there was a need that needed to be addressed. There is no timetable for how long Fielder might sit, though Monday would is a possibility against Houston Astros right-hander Mike Fiers.
I’m trying to get hits, man. I’m hitting .180. You guys can have the homers. I’m trying to get hits, I’m trying to drive in runs, I’m trying not to get benched for two days, you know? I’m just trying to play baseball.
Banister has “unplugged” hitters in the past, including Ian Desmond earlier this season and Shin-Soo Choo in 2015. Each returned productive. Fielder is aware of that, but didn’t think the same treatment should be applied to him.
“I don’t care about any of that,” he said. “I play every day. That’s fine. It might work, but it’s not something I want to do. But it’s the manager’s call.
“Last year we had a lot of issues with the same thing with a lot guys, and they turned it around and had good years. I’m no different. We’re winning. last year we weren’t winning. Who am I to sit here and complain when we’re winning?”
Fielder said that he has been chasing too many pitches out of the strike zone and also said that pitchers have been approaching him differently after a torrid start last season.
Since batting .339 in the first half of 2015, Fielder is batting .232.
“Every now and then I’ll take the bad pitches and when the good pitches come I’m so worried about not swinging at bad pitches and I won’t swing at the good pitches,” he said.
“I’ve been chasing. Even 2-0, they’re just not going to serve it up to me. Last year they did in the first half. Now they’re pitching me like I’m able to do something, so I have to get used to it.”
Fielder said that he is fine physically and that the only thing hurting now are “just my heart and my feelings.” He said that half-jokingly.
But he wasn’t kidding about being unhappy to be in the lineup. He wants to be in there even though he can’t get out of the worst slump of his career.
“Let me make my movie turn out right,” he said. “I’m trying to get hits, man. I’m hitting .180. You guys can have the homers. I’m trying to get hits, I’m trying to drive in runs, I’m trying not to get benched for two days, you know? I’m just trying to play baseball. I’m not trying to hit homers. I’m just trying to not have this [expletive deleted] happen again.”