For the second day in a row, Prince Fielder talked Tuesday about how he’s not ruling anything out as he approaches free agency for the first time. That includes becoming a designated hitter.
“I did it a little in interleague. It’s not easy to do that,” said Fielder. “It’s different because you can’t have the sweat from playing defense. You have to have a routine to get loose. It’s not like you play defense, come in and you’re still warm. It takes effort to keep your body ready. It’s even harder mentally.”
Even though he’s just 27 and he’s one of the game’s best hitters, Fielder faces an uncertain market. Big spenders like the Yankees, Red Sox and Phillies already have first base spoken for, and he also has Albert Pujols to contend with.
“I’m not really ruling anything out,” said Fielder. “It’s tougher [being a DH], but I didn’t mind it. It was just something, it’s not, it’s something you have to learn. It’s not just something you can do and expect to be good without having to make any adjustment.”
Fielder then went off to look for his good friend Adam Dunn after missing him at the Home Run Derby last night.
Here are the Rangers and Blue Jays lineups for Game 1 of the ALDS in Toronto:
CF Delino DeShields
RF Shin-Soo Choo
3B Adrian Beltre
DH Prince Fielder
1B Mike Napoli
LF Josh Hamilton
SS Elvis Andrus
2B Rougned Odor
C Robinson Chirinos
SP Yovani Gallardo
With left-hander David Price on the mound for Toronto the Rangers are going with Mike Napoli at first base over Mitch Moreland. Beyond that it’s a pretty standard lineup for Texas, or at least standard for what manager Jeff Banister used down the stretch once Josh Hamilton was healthy enough to play left field.
LF Ben Revere
3B Josh Donaldson
RF Jose Bautista
DH Edwin Encarnacion
SS Troy Tulowitzki
1B Justin Smoak
C Russell Martin
2B Ryan Goins
CF Kevin Pillar
SP David Price
After returning from the disabled list for the final weekend of the regular season Troy Tulowitzki is in the lineup and batting fifth. That allows Ryan Goins to play second base in place of the injured Devon Travis. Justin Smoak gets the nod over Chris Colabello at first base against a right-hander.
Houston made one unexpected change to the roster for the ALDS, leaving off veteran reliever Chad Qualls.
Qualls warmed up but never appeared in the Wild Card game win over the Yankees and during the regular season the 36-year-old right-hander logged 49 innings with a 4.38 ERA and 46/9 K/BB ratio. Qualls was on the Astros’ last playoff team in 2005.
Utility man Jonathan Villar has been bumped off the roster in favor of outfielder Preston Tucker, as the Astros opted for a good left-handed bat off the bench versus the Royals rather than Villar’s speed.