Prince Fielder's consecutive games played streak was snapped at 547 games on Saturday due to a herniated disk in his neck and it turns out that the injury will have major ramifications for the Rangers and fantasy owners.
Rangers general manager Jon Daniels announced Thursday that Fielder is tentatively scheduled to undergo neck surgery on Tuesday. He'll receive a second opinion on the injury to be on the safe side, but the expectation is that he will have the C-5 and C-6 disks in his neck fused. The normal timeline for recovery after this type of surgery is about 3-4 months, which essentially ends his season. It's perhaps the biggest blow yet for a team that already has 13 players on the disabled list.
Big things were expected from Fielder after Rangers acquired him from the Tigers for Ian Kinsler over the winter, but the veteran slugger will likely end his season with a disappointing .247/.360/.360 batting line to go along with three home runs over 42 games. The neck issue provides some context to his struggles, but those fantasy owners who paid the high price on draft day this spring will have to turn the page. As for the Rangers, they are still on the hook for upwards of $130 million through 2020. That's a lot of money for someone who just entered his 30s and faces an uncertain future.
If you are in a bind at first base in mixed leagues, it might make sense to stash away Kendrys Morales, who should sign with a team pretty soon. Perhaps the Rangers will step up with an offer? He's only owned in 16 percent of leagues right now. Other widely available names include Garrett Jones (Yahoo: 17 percent owned), Mark Reynolds (Yahoo: 13 percent owned), Ike Davis (Yahoo: 7 percent owned) and Lucas Duda (Yahoo: 5 percent owned). Good luck out there.
If the news on Fielder doesn't sting enough, Daniels also announced Thursday that Jurickson Profar recently aggravated the teres major muscle in his right shoulder and will likely miss another 8-12 weeks. Of course, one of the side benefits to trading Kinsler in the Fielder deal was to clear the way for Profar at second base this year, but we might not get anything more than a late-season sample going into 2015. Too bad.
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Time For Taveras?
The wait is almost over. Well, maybe. Cardinals general manager John Mozeliak said Wednesday that top prospect outfielder Oscar Taveras could "possibly" be called up when the club plays a stretch of games in American League ballparks from June 4-11. The flexibility of the DH spot could clear the way for Allen Craig and Matt Adams to continue to receive regular at-bats while giving Taveras playing time in right field.
While Mozeliak has denied it, the common assumption has been that Taveras is still in the minors because of service time considerations. Specifically, if he is called up now, he could qualify for arbitration early as a "Super Two" player. Those players receive four years of arbitration as opposed to the usual three. It does look a bit curious considering that Taveras is batting .313/.361/.512 with six home runs and 34 RBI over 42 games in Triple-A, but you also have to consider the playing time considerations involved. Most think Taveras is better suited for a corner outfield spot at the major league level as opposed to center field, so Craig and Adams could end up platooning before long. It's not an easy situation for Cardinals manager Mike Matheny.
It might take Taveras some time to tap into his power potential at the major league level and he's not exactly a burner on the bases, but many consider the 21-year-old as the best pure hitter in the minor leagues. He likely would have been in the majors by now if it wasn't for his ankle injury last year. Go ahead and stash him in fantasy leagues if you have the roster flexibility.
Moose Sent to the Farm
Remember all the optimism produced by Mike Moustakas' lofty numbers during Cactus League play? How about we never make a big deal out of spring training production ever again. Deal? Deal.
The Royals demoted Moustakas to Triple-A Omaha on Thursday after he batted just .152/.223/.320 with four home runs and 17 RBI through 40 games. Royals manager Ned Yost spoke in support of Moustakas just last week, but he told Dick Kaegel of MLB.com on Thursday that the 25-year-old looked "lost" at the plate and that his "confidence was suffering." With a .236/.290/.379 batting line over 414 games in the majors, it's fair to wonder how many more chances the Royals will give the 2007 No. 2 overall pick.
Now that Moustakas is in the minors, the Royals will move forward with Danny Valencia as their regular third baseman. It's not ideal, as he's significantly better against southpaws than right-handers. He's mostly an option in AL-only and/or daily mixed formats.
AL Quick Hits: Chris Davis will be away from the Orioles on Sunday and Monday for the birth of his child … Yu Darvish gave up two runs in seven innings Thursday in a win over the Tigers … Chris Sale dominated in his return from the disabled list Thursday against the Yankees, allowing just one hit while striking out 10 batters over six scoreless innings … Jose Bautista had three hits and launched his 12th homer in Thursday's win over the Red Sox … Alex Cobb (oblique) tossed 6 2/3 scoreless innings Thursday against the Athletics in his return from the disabled list … Mark Buehrle became the majors' first eight-game winner after allowing two runs over seven innings against the Red Sox on Thursday … Carlos Santana went 2-for-6 with a go-ahead two-run double in an extra-inning victory over the Orioles on Thursday … Sonny Gray tossed eight-innings of one-run ball Thursday in a no-decision against the Rays … Manny Machado left Thursday's game with right groin stiffness … Rays closer Grant Balfour blew his second save of the season Thursday against the Athletics and now owns an ugly 5.89 ERA and 1.69 WHIP on the year … Michael Pineda (shoulder) is slated to face hitters on Saturday … The Orioles placed Tommy Hunter on the disabled list with a left groin strain … George Springer (hip) doesn't believe that he will need a stint on the disabled list … Omar Infante (back) will begin a minor league rehab assignment Friday with Triple-A Omaha …
NL Quick Hits: Ryan Braun left Thursday's game against the Braves due to tightness in his right side, a bad sign after his recent oblique injury … Carlos Gomez sat out Thursdays' game against the Braves due to a recurrence of a lower back issue … Michael Wacha (elbow) said Thursday that he's on track to make his next scheduled start … Matt Cain was diagnosed with a Grade 1 right hamstring strain and hasn't been ruled out of making his next start … Allen Craig went 2-for-4 with a double and a go-ahead RBI single in Thursday's win over the Diamondbacks … Yovani Gallardo (ankle) will throw a bullpen session Friday and could be cleared to start Sunday against the Marlins … Travis d'Arnaud (concussion) has been cleared for baseball activities … Mark Melancon danced around a pair of walks Thursday against the Nationals to lock down his eighth save, but he's still expected to give up the closer role when Jason Grilli (oblique) comes off the disabled list this weekend … Adam LaRoche (quad) went 0-for-2 in a rehab game with High-A Potomac on Thursday and hopes to rejoin the Nationals by Monday … Dillon Gee (lat) will throw off a mound on Friday and could make a rehab start as soon as Sunday … Jenrry Mejia tossed a scoreless ninth inning Thursday against the Dodgers for his second save of the season and appears primed to emerge as the Mets' closer … The Pirates designated left-hander Wandy Rodriguez for assignment … The Padres placed left-hander Robbie Erlin on the 15-day disabled list with elbow soreness … The Dodgers have released catcher Miguel Olivo in the wake of him biting the ear of infield prospect Alex Guerrero … Anthony Rizzo went 2-for-3 with a two-run homer in Thursday's victory over the Padres ...