Tigers react to Prince calling it a career

Tigers react to Prince calling it a career

SEATTLE -- Prince Fielder played with the Tigers in 2012 and '13, the second stop in a decorated 12 years in the Major Leagues that appears to be over. Fielder, 32, is expected to reveal in a Wednesday news conference that a second neck surgery in the last two years will force the end of his career.

Tigers pitcher Justin Verlander, Fielder's teammate in the '12 and '13 seasons that ended with trips to the American League Championship Series, was told of the news in the visiting clubhouse.

"It [stinks]," Verlander said. "I like Prince. He's been a great player. He's a great ambassador for the game, and I've really enjoyed my time with him. You never want to see a player end his career that way, when it's not his decision.

"He took a lot of pride in taking the field each and every day and going out there and producing and trying to help the team win."

Verlander was asked for a lingering memory of Fielder as a Tiger.

"I think the one that sticks out, the visual imagery, is when we clinched to go to the playoffs and he was just kind of standing there holding his hands up at first base," Verlander said. "That's just kind of him. I think, as a person in the clubhouse, he was a good teammate. He was always kind of fun and joking and loved to smile and just have a good time."

Tigers manager Brad Ausmus played for the 1996 Tigers alongside Prince Fielder's father, Cecil, and would often see Prince running around the clubhouse and blasting homers in batting practice.

"He hit the ball farther than me, and I was almost 20 years older than him," Ausmus said. "That's what stood out. I think back then he was actually hitting them righty and lefty, if I remember correctly. He was hitting balls as far as I could hit them, and I was 27 years old. I never liked that little brat.

"I remember that, and of course I remember playing against him. That's when I knew I was starting to get up there in years, when I started playing against former teammates' sons at the Major League level."

Doug Miller is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @DougMillerMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.