Prince Fielder #84 of the Texas Rangers watches as he grounds into a double play in the eighth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on April 7, 2014 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)
Prince Fielder has made headlines this week for being the coverboy for ESPN The Magazine's annual Body Issue, appearing nude on the cover in his patented home run swing pose.
But it's what's inside the magazine — other than all the naked athletes — that should be the highlight of the Fielder bit, as he told the magazine he's pain-free and expects to be back to his old self when he returns to the Rangers, most likely in 2015.
"I have the feeling back [in my neck and left arm] and I'm pain-free, so I look forward to a full recovery and getting back out there next year, doing what I do and helping the Rangers win," Fielder told the magazine.
There's been talk that Fielder could return for some at-bats in September, and that'd be great, but you can't expect him to get right back into his formerly powerful self right off the bat. Fielder's first season in Texas, after being swapped for Ian Kinsler, was a huge failure as he hit the disabled list in May and had cervical fusion surgery in his neck on May 27.
His final numbers: .247 batting average, .360 on-base percentage, three homers and 16 RBIs in 42 games.
Not exactly what the Rangers were signing up for when they took on his mega contract back in November. If what he says proves to be true, the Rangers can expect much more from the slugger next season.