Rangers expect Prince to have neck surgery

Operation, likely to come later this week, would end veteran slugger's season

Rangers expect Prince to have neck surgery

ARLINGTON -- The Rangers expect Prince Fielder will have season-ending surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck in the next few weeks, general manager Jon Daniels announced Monday.

Fielder was examined by Dr. Drew Dossett on Monday, who confirmed the diagnosis of Dr. Richard Watkins in Los Angeles last week, recommending the surgery. Fielder missed nearly the entire 2014 season following surgery to repair a herniated disk in his neck. This herniation is just above the fusion from his first surgery.

Daniels said that he had not talked to Fielder yet, but he expects that the 31-year-old designated hitter will have the surgery, and they will look to schedule it later this week.

"In this type of situation I feel more for the human being than I do anything else, for the person. Look, this guy loves to compete as much as anyone in the [clubhouse] and anyone in Major League Baseball," Rangers manager Jeff Banister said. " … He loves to post up in that uniform for his teammates and these fans. I'll miss that."

Daniels believes there was a correlation with the injury and Fielder's tough year at the plate. He was batting .212 with a .292 on-base percentage before being placed on the 15-day disabled list on July 20.

"I don't think there's any doubt from the folks we talked to. I don't know exactly when Prince started feeling symptoms, but here was a period before he let us know," he said. "Obviously he wanted to play, and push through it. He wanted to make adjustments that his body wasn't letting him make."

Fielder came back from his 2014 surgery to hit .305 and 23 home runs for the Rangers last year. Daniels did not want to speculate if this injury could force him into an early retirement.

"He rehabbed once from it and came back. With each additional surgery in that area it increases the risk involved and overall his ability to get back," Daniels said. "But it's not for me to speculate."

Daniels said the team's strategy for Aug. 1 non-waiver Trade Deadline remains the same, despite the injury. They have been linked to multiple starting pitchers and relievers, and pitching will remain the focus.

He pointed to the team's confidence in players like Ryan Rua, Jurickson Profar and Delino DeShields to fill Fielder's at-bats as the reason pitching will remain the focus. If there's an opening in at-bats, he said the team may look to Joey Gallo, as well -- the team's No. 1 prospect per MLBPipeline.com.

Like Daniels, Banister is confident in the team's replacement options for Fielder, but would not deny it changes the dynamic of his lineup.

Ryan Posner is a reporter for MLB.com based in Arlington. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.