We heard earlier this afternoon that Prince Fielder could be headed for season-ending neck surgery. The worst-case scenario has been realized.
According to Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels just confirmed that Fielder is tentatively scheduled to undergo surgery Tuesday to fuse the C-5 and C-6 disks in his neck. He’ll receive a second opinion later this week, but all indications are that he’ll have the surgery. The normal timeline for recovery is about 3-4 months, which essentially ends his season.
Today’s news is another brutal blow for the Rangers, who can’t seem to catch a break on the injury front. They currently have 13 players on the disabled list, including Derek Holland, Martin Perez, Matt Harrison, Tanner Scheppers, and Jurickson Profar.
Big things were expected from Fielder after he came over from the Tigers in the Ian Kinsler deal over the winter, but he was batting just .247/.360/.360 with three home runs and 16 RBI over 42 games prior to being shut down on Saturday. Long regarded for his durability, his consecutive games played streak was snapped at 547 games. The 30-year-old is still owed approximately $156 million through 2020, though the Tigers are covering $30 million of the total from 2016-2020. Still, that contract is starting to look pretty brutal.
Indians slugger Carlos Santana hasn’t played in the outfield in a major league game since 2012, but the Indians are strongly considering starting him in left field for Game 3 of the World Series at Wrigley Field on Friday, MLB.com’s Jordan Bastian reports. As the game is hosted in a National League park, there is no DH rule in effect, so the Indians might otherwise have to keep Santana on the bench.
Santana is hitless in six at-bats in the World Series thus far, but he has drawn two walks. He has overall not had a great postseason, carrying an aggregate .564 OPS in 40 plate appearances since the beginning of the playoffs. Still, during the regular season, he had an .865 OPS so he can certainly be a threat on offense at any given moment.
Earlier, Craig asked if Cubs slugger Kyle Schwarber would play the outfield now that the World Series has come to Chicago, where there will be no DH. The answer to that is no, it appears. Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein said that Schwarber has not been medically cleared to play the outfield, CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney reports.
Schwarber returned to the Cubs sooner than expected after suffering a fully-torn ACL and LCL in his left leg during an early April collision with teammate Dexter Fowler in Arizona. In preparation to join the Cubs for the World Series, Schwarber went to the Arizona Fall League and reportedly saw over 1,000 pitches from machines as well as Single-A pitchers. He doesn’t look like he’s missed a beat as he went 1-for-3 with a walk and a double (that was very nearly a home run) in Game 1, then drew a walk and hit two RBI singles in five plate appearances in Game 2.
At least right now, however, it appears Schwarber will serve as a bat off the bench for Games 3, 4, and 5 until he gets medical clearance.