After only playing 42 games in 2014, Prince Fielder could hit 42 home runs in 2015.
At least that’s what the Rangers are hoping for after their first-base slugger received a “full speed ahead” from team doctors on Monday. After coming to Texas via a trade for Ian Kinsler a year ago, Fielder missed most of the season with neck stiffness that eventually required surgery.
But Dr. Drew Dossett, who performed a cervical fusion of two disks in Fielder’s neck in May, said he is healthy and won’t be limited in Spring Training. Fielder had previously pronounced himself 100 percent at last month’s team awards dinner.
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Without Fielder the Rangers’ offense suffocated. Adrian Beltre led the team with only 19 homers and 77 RBI as Texas lost 95 games and finished last in the AL West.
But with his left-handed power exploiting Globe Life Park’s short porch in right field, the Rangers are picking up the expectations they had a year ago – of an offensive stalwart that could top 40 homers and 110 RBI.
Fielder, just 30, hasn’t hit 40+ homer or driven in 120+ runs since 2009 when he was with the Milwaukee Brewers. Still, his return will inject power into the Rangers’ lineup and enthusiasm back into their fan base.
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.