Rangers first baseman Prince Fielder will miss the next few games with a herniated disc in his neck, the team announced. He has received a nerve-blocking injection and the club hopes to get him back in the lineup by Tuesday.
Fielder, 30, has been dealing with the issue for quite some time according to T.R. Sullivan of MLB.com. Inflammatory medication did not work, hence the injection. A herniated disc in the neck is not as severe or debilitating as one in the lower back. It's still possible the injury was contributing to Fielder's poor start at the plate.
"It's hard to say exactly, but it makes some sense," said GM Jon Daniels to Sullivan. "If you put two and two together, it stands to reason it affected him some. He said there was a lack of strength in his left arm that may have impacted his ability to hit for power."
Fielder is hitting only .247/.360/.360 (100 OPS+) with three home runs this year, though he has more walks (25) than strikeouts (24). Following a down season (by his standards) in 2013, the slow start fueled questions about whether Fielder has started to decline. Texas owes him $90 million from 2015-20.
The neck injury ends Fielder's consecutive games played streak at 547. It was the longest active streak in baseball. Prior to Saturday, the last time Prince missed a game was Sept. 13, 2010, when he was still with the Brewers.
With Fielder's streak snapped, the longest active consecutive games played streak belongs to Giants outfielder Hunter Pence. He has played in 214 straight games coming into Saturday.