UPDATE: So much for that. Fielder was just scratched from the lineup again.
Prince Fielder’s consecutive games played streak ended up 547 over the weekend when he missed back-to-back games with a herniated disk in his neck, but the Rangers first baseman is back in the lineup tonight against the Mariners.
T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com reports that Fielder “received a nerve-blocking injection to help the problem” and he’ll actually play designated hitter rather than first base in his first game back to lessen the risk of aggravating the injury.
Fielder has had a huge power drought in his first season in Texas, managing just three homers and a .360 slugging percentage through 42 games. He’s also hitting just .247 and despite more walks (25) than strikeouts (24) his .360 on-base percentage is well below his career norms.
The story of the Indians postseason cannot be told without talking about injuries to starting pitchers Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar. They have forced Terry Francona to lean even harder on his bullpen than he otherwise may have and have cause the Indians to press rookie Ryan Merritt into service.
But Cleveland will be getting at least one of their starters back: Indians pitching coach Mickey Callaway that Danny Salazar will be part of the World Series roster.
Salazar has not pitched since early September due to a strained right flexor muscle, but according to Callaway, Salazar is ready to throw 65-70 pitches in a game. That could mean a start, probably in Game 4 after Corey Kluber, Trevor Bauer and Josh Tomlin. Merritt was a possible Game 4 starter, but he could either pair up with Salazar in a tandem start or serve in long relief.
Cubs’ left fielder Kyle Schwarber missed virtually the entire 2016 season due to torn knee ligaments, but he has been working his way back to health more quickly than initially expected. Indeed, he has been playing for the Cubs in the Arizona Fall League, serving as a DH. Many have speculated that the Cubs will activate him for the World Series.
Today, at his World Series media session, Cubs manager Joe Maddon said that reports from Arizona are good on Schwarber and that the he will fly to Cleveland to join the team after tonight’s game in Arizona. Maddon says the team will make a decision on activating him once he arrives. The Cubs have until tomorrow morning to set their World Series roster.
Our guess is that Schwarber will get the call and will serve as the DH for the Cubs in Games 1, 2 and, if necessary, 6 and 7 in Cleveland. If so, a lost season could very quickly turn into a storybook season for the Cubs’ young slugger.