Prince Fielder scheduled to undergo neck surgery, expected to miss rest of season

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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.

MLB to move the draft to Omaha on the eve of the College World Series

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SAN DIEGO — We spend a lot of time on these pages criticizing Major League Baseball’s decisions. And yeah, they make a lot of questionable decisions (or logical decisions which serve questionable motives). But in the past day or so they’ve certainly gotten a couple of things right.

First was what we posted about last night: MLB moving to take marijuana off the banned substance list for minor leaguers. This, combined with the recent report that MLB/MLBPA are moving to a treatment, as opposed to a punishment-based regimen for opioids, shows that sense, as opposed to hysteria and optics, is beginning to move to the fore when it comes to baseball’s drug policies. It’s certainly welcome.

Also reported last night — by Kendall Rogers of the website d1baseball.com — Major League Baseball plans to move the amateur draft from the MLB Network studios in New Jersey to Omaha, Nebraska, and schedule it at just at the start of the College World Series. The move has not been officially announced yet, but I’d expect an MLB press release on it before we all get on our planes on Thursday morning.

It would be nicely coordinated too, Rogers says, coming just after the super regionals but before the actual CWS. This would allow the top players expected to go to all be on hand, either as players in the CWS or because, hey, they just got done and would probably be there anyway. It’s way better than putting a six guys in a green room in Secaucus. That’s always so awkward. You can tell they don’t really want to be there and don’t know what to do with themselves. In Omaha they’ll be among their friends, teammates, family, and counterparts. The atmosphere will almost certainly radically change for the better.

It’s still a very, very tall order to ever create the same level of interest in the MLB draft that exists for the NFL or NBA drafts, as the structure of college football and basketball and the fame of its stars is a totally different deal coming in. But this is a positive move forward for the baseball draft. Good job to whoever’s idea it was.