The Rangers won’t lose 95 games again this season.
Main reason? The artist formerly known as Prince.
After playing in only 42 games in 2014 because of a neck injury that required surgery, Prince Fielder announced at the team’s award dinner Friday night in Arlington that he’s good to go for 2015.
“I’ll play a pick-up game right now. I’m ready to go,” he said. “I’m good. I’m 100 percent. Whatever it was before, is back.”
Obviously there are a lot of dominoes that have to fall just right to get Texas out of the AL West cellar and back into post-season contention. But without Fielder’s offensive punch, the other ones would prove ultimately irrelevant.
The injury appears to be a hiccup, as Fielder hadn’t missed consecutive games since 2007 before last season. But his bothersome neck limited him to three homers as he led the Rangers’ record-breaking parade to the disabled list and the bottom of baseball’s standings.
When acquired for second baseman Ian Kinsler last winter, Rangers fans salivated over Fielder’s left-handed bat and Globe Life Park’s short porch in right field. Predictions topped 50 homers and then … Fielder became a pain in the neck. He’s still not sure how – or even when – the injury occurred, but it eventually required the same surgery that sidelined legendary quarterback Peyton Manning for a year.
In his first public appearance in DFW since last season, Fielder was undeniably upbeat about Spring Training and beyond.
“My kids, my wife ... I drove them crazy,” Fielder joked. “I’m sure they were tired of seeing me all the time. I just tried to live through my kids. I think I wanted to play catch with them more than they did with me.”
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.