The herniation is just above a previous injury that was surgically repaired on May 27, 2014, which forced Fielder to miss the rest of that season. Fielder has been bothered by the problem for some time, but did not report it to the Rangers until Monday.
Fielder had an MRI on Tuesday and was examined on Wednesday in Los Angeles by Dr. Robert Watkins, who recommended surgery. Fielder is going to get a second opinion on Friday from Dr. Drew Dossett, who performed the surgery two years ago, before a final course of action is decided.
"The way it has been described to me is that a fused vertebrae puts added stress above and below," Rangers general manager Jon Daniels said. "The initial fusion he had is still intact. The new herniation surfaced above it."
Fielder is hitting .212 with a .292 on-base percentage and a .334 slugging percentage. He was hitting .247 with both a .360 on-base percentage and slugging percentage in 2014 when he finally gave in to surgery. So it's reasonable to assume his offense was again impacted by the problem.
"Some of the same things we saw back then, trouble getting the ball in the air on the pull side," Daniels said. "He told others he has been trying to fight through it, I don't know how long. If he has the surgery, I expect him to be out for the year. We'll see what happens Friday."
Choo has been dealing with inflammation in his lower back for the past couple of weeks. He also had an MRI and examination from Dr. Watkins. Choo received an anti-inflammation injection and is expected to be sidelined 10-14 days.
"It should not be an issue after that," Daniels said.
Jurickson Profar will most likely get the at-bats left by Fielder while DeShields enters an outfield mix that already includes Ryan Rua, Ian Desmond and Nomar Mazara.
T.R. Sullivan has covered the Rangers since 1989, and for MLB.com since 2006. Follow him on Twitter @Sullivan_Ranger and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.