Prince Fielder and Ron Washington seem to be fast friends already, just a few months after the slugging first baseman was traded to Texas for longtime Ranger Ian Kinsler.
Washington pretty much immediately came out and said Fielder would be the Rangers' No. 3 hitter after years of serving as protection for league MVPs — Ryan Braun in Milwaukee and Miguel Cabrera (twice) in Detroit. Now, Fielder will get protected in the lineup for the first time by a pretty good source of protection in Rangers cleanup hitter Adrian Beltre.
In fact, Washington has spent all winter trying to be sure Fielder doesn't feel pressure to carry a lineup that struggled so mightily last season in the power department. Speaking to KTCK The Ticket on Monday, Washington once again made a point that Fielder doesn't need to put any extra burden on his shoulders in 2014.
"He has an idea of what he has to do," Washington said. "He just has to make certain that we make him work to bring that out and be a productive player for us, and we know he will. I don’t want him thinking he has to carry us because he does have help. We just want him to be Prince and everyone else be who they are, and then the lineup works."
Fielder has an opportunity to put up some monster numbers playing 81 games in Globe Life Park, or whatever it's called these days. You're talking about a guy coming from a power hitter's nightmare (unless you're Cabrera) to a power hitter's heaven on Earth.