He had been so durable that the Rangers were willing to pass on asking for Fielder to take a physical as part of the conditions for the offseason trade that sent Fielder and a $138 million financial obligation through 2020 from the Tigers to the Rangers.
The durability, however, ended on May 14. Fielder is on the disabled list with a herniated disc in his neck.
It has been that kind of year for the Rangers, who in the last week not only placed Fielder on the disabled list, but also Matt Harrison (spinal fusion) and Martin Perez (Tommy John surgery). That's 17 disabled-list moves this year for the Rangers, who currently have 13 players on the DL.
Daniel Robertson avoided joining that list, despite an outfield collision with Alex Rios on Thursday which left him with a black eye and three small facial fractures. Robertson will miss a couple of days, and will wear a special face shield and batting helmet when he returns to action.
If that wasn't a big enough headache for Texas in its attempt to overcome Oakland in the American League West, super prospect Jurickson Profar aggravated a partially torn muscle in his right shoulder and will be out at least eight more weeks.
Feeling the Draft
Don't be surprised if teams with top picks in next month's First-Year Player Draft pull off a surprise or two. Right-handed pitchers Jeff Hoffman of East Carolina and Erick Fedde of UNLV have both undergone Tommy John surgery, while lefty Brandon Finnegan of TCU has been slowed by shoulder tightness. All three were considered once top 10 picks in early Draft projections.
They could still go in the top 10, if a team is willing to take a gamble with the idea they could sign one of the injured pitchers for less than slot money and then have the difference in the bonus and slot money to sign other players in the Draft.
While the slot system is relatively new, teams have benefited from having a budget that allowed them to take players who slipped through earlier rounds in the past. The Rockies selected Matt Holliday in the seventh round in 1998, and signed him to an $840,000 bonus -- a record for the seventh round. They also signed Dexter Fowler to a $925,000 bonus in 2004, despite taking him in the 14th round.
• Pirates right-hander Charlie Morton earned his first victory in seven decisions this season on Friday night. He's only the third Pirates starting pitcher to be credited with a victory this year. Gerrit Cole has four wins, while Edinson Volquez has two.
• Cubs right-hander Jeff Samardzija is 0-4 in 10 starts, despite a 1.46 ERA. The lowest ERA ever for a pitcher with a losing record was 1.27 by Ed Walsh, who was 18-20 for the 1910 Chicago White Sox. The lowest ERA for a pitcher with a winning percentage lower than .300 was posted by Ned Garvin, who was 5-16 with a 1.72 ERA and .238 winning percentage in 1904, when he pitched for the Brooklyn Superbas and New York Highlanders.
• When Stephen Drew signed with Boston, Detroit's options to fill its shortstop void narrowed. That could be a factor in last week's promotion of shortstop Eugenio Suarez from Double-A Erie to Triple-A Toledo. With Jose Iglesias likely out for the season (shin fractures), the Tigers have been using a shortstop platoon of Andrew Romine, a switch-hitter who is batting .176 and hit his first home run on Friday, and Danny Worth, a right-handed hitter, who is batting .212. They have a combined one home run and eight RBIs.
• With Cleveland's back-to-back, 13-inning wins at home vs. Detroit on Wednesday and at Baltimore on Thursday, the Indians became the second team since 1914 to have back-to-back wins of exactly 13 innings in length. The other was the Oakland A's, who turned the trick May 1-2, 1987, against Detroit.
• Zack Greinke is 48-12 in home starts since the start of the 2009 season, a winning percentage of .800, which is tops in the Major Leagues over that span. Jorge De La Rosa is second among active pitchers at 32-10 (.762). They both have faced their challenges. De La Rosa has dealt with Coors Field as his home park, while Greinke has called three different ballparks home -- Kaufmann Stadium, Miller Park and, currently, Dodger Stadium.
When Houston pitcher Rudy Owens faced Mariners center fielder James Jones on Friday night, it was the first time a No. 99 pitched to a No. 99. Owens, who is in his eighth season with the Astros organization, made his big league debut in that game, and became the 14th player in Major League history to wear No. 99.
Dodger lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu is the only other active player wearing No. 99.
Previous players to wear 99 were Charlie Keller (Yankees, 1952), Willie Crawford (A's, 1977), Mitch Williams (Phillies, 1993; Astros, '94; Angels, '95), Turk Wendell (Mets 1997-2001; Phillies, '01; Rockies, '04), Todd Hundley (Cubs, 2001), So Taguchi (Cardinals 2002-07; Phillies, '08; Cubs, '09), Darren Clarke (Rockies, 2007), Manny Ramirez (Dodgers, 2008-10; White Sox, '10), Brian Bruney (Yankees, 2009), Collin Balester (Nationals, 2010), and Alfredo Amezaga (Rockies, 2011).
Brad Ausmus (Tigers), Terry Francona (Indians), Joe Girardi (Yankees), Mike Matheny (Cardinals), Mike Redmond (Marlins), Ryne Sandberg (Phillies), Robin Ventura (White Sox) and Walt Weiss (Rockies) are the only active skippers in the bigs who played for the club they currently manage at some point in their careers, according to Bill Arnold.
Sandberg and Ventura were originally drafted by their organization, as well.
Ausmus, Girardi and former Indians/Mariners manager Eric Wedge were the three catchers taken by the Rockies in the November 1992 Expansion Draft.