THE BLEAK GETS BLEAKER

BY: Richard W. Humphrey

Thursday’s good news is that the Rangers routed the Tigers Thursday afternoon 9-2, in a game that wasn’t as close as that score indicates. Yu Darvish went seven innings and gave up both Tiger runs to win his fourth game. The offense put up the nine runs over the first four innings. Detroit had a tired bullpen to begin the game as they played 13 innings on Wednesday which required six pitchers. It was so bad Thursday that Detroit manager Brad Ausmus brought in reserve shortstop Danny Worth to pitch the ninth inning. He was their sixth pitcher of the game, and perhaps their most effective as he retired three of the four batters he faced, including two by strikeout.

From there, the news went downhill fast, as the bleak injury situation got bleaker. General Manager Jon Daniels held a 4:30 press conference at which he indicated that Prince Fielder’s year in all likelihood is over. Fielder did not travel to Detroit with the team and was examined today by Dr. Drew Dossett. The result is that surgery (pending a second opinion) to repair a herniated disk in Fielder’s neck is scheduled for next Tuesday, which will likely end his season.

Fielder complained of neck stiffness and was held out of last Saturday’s game against Toronto. He indicated then that he expected to be back shortly and was actually in Tuesday’s original starting lineup. He was scratched before game time though, and did not play again Wednesday.

Reportedly, Fielder’s contract includes disability insurance, such that the Rangers expect to recover $5,000,000 to $8,000.000 of Fielder’s salary from the policy. Also, the Rangers are expected to activate Donnie Murphy from the disabled list on Friday. Murphy has been at AAA Round Rock on a minor league rehab assignment and was pulled from the starting lineup on Thursday night.

One option may be Kendry Morales. He hit .277 with 23 home runs last year for Seattle. The Mariners made him a qualifying offer last October, which means signing Morales involved forfeiture of a draft pick. The draft pick compensation is the main reason why Morales is still available as a free agent. In the Rangers’ case, it would be their second round pick as they have already forfeited their first round pick by signing Sin-Shoo Choo. The draft however is barely two weeks away, and if Morales signs after the draft, the compensatory pick vanishes.

That wasn’t all the bad news though. Daniels indicated that Jurickson Profar has been shut down from the throwing program he recently began. There is no surgical solution for his muscle strain condition. Rest is the only cure. He’s gone for another 10-12 weeks, which likely means he’s gone for the season. Hopefully, he can recover to full strength.

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