Torii Hunter thinks everyone needs to back off Prince Fielder, even though the first baseman isn’t putting up his usual numbers this year. Speaking on the “Ryan and Rico” show on Detroit’s 105.1 FM on Tuesday, Hunter indicated that Fielder is dealing with issues off the field.
MLive.com’s James Schmehl posted a link to the audio:
“Prince is a strong guy, man. A lot of people don’t know what’s going on in his life.” Hunter said. “He’s out there every day, won’t come out of the lineup, no matter what’s going on off the field or on the field. … Us as players, we know what’s really going on. And we appreciate him going out there every day, despite…”
He trailed off from there.
Fielder is hitting .261/.352/.432 with 17 homers and 81 RBI this year. The RBI total is fine, but his OPS is down 156 points from his first year in Detroit. His career worst OPS was an .831 mark from his rookie season in 2006. Right now, he’s at .784.
After hearing the outcry over a thrown banana, Alexander Poulides reached out to the San Jose Mercury News on Monday and said that he was the tosser and that it was a move made strictly in frustration with another poor performance from the Giants in a 10-2 loss to the Orioles.
Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones believed that the banana was meant for him and that it was a racially motivated act.
“I’m embarrassed and shocked by the outcome,” Poulides told the Mercury News. “In hindsight, I wish I didn’t do it and I apologize. I’m very sorry.”
The Giants apologized to Jones on Monday and were investigating the incident. They’ve yet to confirm that Poulides made the throw. Poulides said he grabbed the banana off a catering cart towards the end of the game as he was on his way out of the AT&T Park.
When Koji Uehara signed with the Red Sox as a free agent last winter, it was reported simply as a one-year, $4.25 million contract. However, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo has learned that the deal also included a $4.25 million option that will vest with his next appearance, his 55th of the season.
WEEI’s Alex Speier adds that incentives will make the option worth $5 million if he reaches 35 games finished this year (he’s at 23 right now and should get to 35 as long as he remains in the closer’s role).
Either way, the 38-year-old Uehara is a bargain. This year, he has a 1.35 ERA and a 74/9 K/BB ratio in 53 1/3 innings. He’s had arm problems from time to time since coming to the majors in 2009, but in 199 career relief appearances, he’s amassed a 2.09 ERA and struck out more than 10 batters for every unintentional walk he’s issued. Despite his age and durability concerns, he was seemingly setting himself up for a deal in the two-year, $12 million range. That the Red Sox will already have him locked up will make their winter a little easier.