Rangers' Fielder facing season-ending neck surgery

Rangers' Fielder facing season-ending neck surgery
May 22, 2014, 5:30 pm
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Through 42 games this season, Prince Fielder is hitting .247 with eight doubles, three home runs and 16 RBI. (AP)

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Prince Fielder is expected to have neck surgery next week and miss the rest of the season.

Fielder has been out with a herniated disk in his neck, and surgery was recommended after a follow-up exam and another scan Thursday with Dr. Drew Dossett.

General manager Jon Daniels said the team would get second opinion about surgery, but were "expecting that to be confirmed."

Daniels said Dossett was tentatively scheduled to do a cervical fusion Tuesday. That operation has a typical recovery time of three to four months, and the GM said he anticipated Fielder being able to be fully recovered before spring training next year.

The Rangers already have a majors-high 13 players on the disabled list. Fielder will become the 14th when that move is made Friday.

Fielder had played in 547 consecutive games, then the longest active streak in the majors, before receiving a nerve root block injection Saturday to treat his neck. He had played all 162 games four of the past five seasons, and missed only one game in 2010.

Before that, the durable first baseman that turned 30 earlier this month hadn't missed a game since Sept. 14, 2010. The last time he had missed consecutive games was Aug. 24-25, 2007, while with Milwaukee.

Texas acquired Fielder last winter from Detroit in a trade for second baseman Ian Kinsler. Fielder is signed through 2020, the rest of the nine-year deal he signed with the Tigers after going there as a free agent for the 2012 season.

After the injection, Fielder took a couple of days off before an exam Monday. Daniels said the slugger's strength tested normal then and that his symptoms had largely gone away, so he was given clearance to resume baseball activity.

Fielder was initially listed in the lineup Tuesday night against Seattle, but was scratched more than three hours before the game after feeling weakness in his arm while taking swings in the batting cage. And he felt no better Wednesday.

"His symptoms have gotten worse," Daniels said Thursday, describing Fielder as frustrated for not feeling like himself and being able to help the team.

Daniels said he wasn't surprised by the news he got from Dossett on Thursday.

"Talking to (Fielder) and seeing him, you knew this was something that was bothering him," Daniels said. "We were hoping the injection could get him through the season, and sometimes you have that kind of response. The initial response was positive. But when he had the setback on Tuesday, we kind of felt this is where it was headed."

Daniels said there is a very high success rate for the kind of surgery Fielder will have.

"We're looking forward to seeing this guy healthy and doing what he can do," Daniels said. "It's more of a 2015 thing. We're going to miss him this year."

Fielder has hit .247 with three home runs and 16 RBIs in 42 games this season. The only time he has played fewer games was 39 as a rookie in 2005.

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