Prince Fielder is not in Saturday night’s lineup for the Rangers, ending a streak in which he has played in 547 consecutive games. MLB.com’s T.R. Sullivan reports that Fielder has been diagnosed with a herniated disk in his neck and will be sidelined for at least a couple of games. He’ll receive a nerve-blocking injection which could allow Fielder to get back into the lineup on Tuesday.
It’s just the latest in a long line of injury reports for the Rangers, who recently lost pitchers Martin Perez and Matt Harrison and have 13 players in total on the disabled list.
Fielder has had a hard time at the plate in his first season with the Rangers, slashing .247/.360/.360 in 178 plate appearances. Fielder said the herniated disk has been an issue that he has been dealing with even during his time with the Tigers last season.
The Rangers are expected to demote a reliever to clear up a roster spot and call up a position player, likely Daniel Robertson.
Free agent outfielder/slugger J.D. Martinez is reportedly seeking an outfield gig, says Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. According to Silverman’s sources, Martinez’s suitors have been informed that the veteran slugger would give preference to teams that can offer a corner outfield spot, rather than a DH-only role.
That could spell trouble for the Red Sox, who appear to be Martinez’s biggest suitors so far this offseason. Outfielders Mookie Betts and Andrew Benintendi are firmly established at the corners, and prior reports from club president Dave Dombrowski suggest that center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. is not going anywhere anytime soon (thereby eliminating the possibility of reshuffling the outfield). The DH spot is still wide open for Martinez, who doesn’t seem to be totally closed off to the idea, but any full-time or part-time role on the field is likely off the table at this point.
Of course, the Red Sox aren’t the only ones pursuing Martinez’s services this winter. The 30-year-old slugger has been linked to both the Diamondbacks and Giants in weeks past, and while they have the roster flexibility to accommodate his preferences, they’ll need to clear another massive hurdle: the seven-year, $250 million contract he’s said to be seeking. Both clubs will need to get creative to make such a deal work. The Diamondbacks are rumored to be shopping right-hander Zack Greinke in an attempt to free up some room on their payroll for Martinez, while the Giants appear more inclined to scour the trade market for outfield help than shell out cash for another hefty contract in free agency.