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Texas Rangers slugger Prince Fielder had cervical fusion of the C5-C6 discs in his neck on Tuesday in Dallas. As the club indicated last week, he's expected to miss the rest of the 2014 season.
Spine specialist Dr. Drew Dossett handled the surgery.
Fielder will remain at the Carrell Clinic in Dallas overnight and is expected to be sent home Wednesday. The 30-year-old slugger was examined by Dr. Dossett on Thursday as symptoms from the herniated disk in his neck had increased. That included weakness in his left arm.
That's when the decision was made to schedule the surgery. Fielder tweeted a message to fans, coaches and teammates on Friday night, thanking them for their support:
Thanks to my family, friends and fans for your support. I'll be back! #terminatorvoice- Prince Fielder (@RealPFielder28) May 23, 2014
Fielder, acquired a week before Thanksgiving for All-Star second baseman Ian Kinsler in one of the biggest trades of the offseason, ends his season with three homers, 16 RBIs and a .247 average.
The surgery is designed to keep the disk from pinching a nerve, causing Fielder's left arm weakness. General manager Jon Daniels said Fielder told the team about his arm "three or four weeks ago," but wanted to try to play through it.
Finally, last Saturday morning, Fielder wasn't able to do that anymore and received a nerve-root block. Initially, that helped with the symptoms and he was in the lineup as the DH for Tuesday's game against the Seattle Mariners.
But after taking some swings in the batting cages, Fielder's arm still didn't feel right and he was scratched. That led to another follow-up exam with Dossett and the eventual surgery decision.
"Prince is one of the guys you count on at some point during the year to put everybody on his back," shortstop Elvis Andrus said over the weekend. "He's been doing that for his whole career, and that's why we brought him here. But, unfortunately, he got hurt. We need him actually healthy to be the Prince he's always been."
Fielder was officially placed on the disabled list on Friday, the first time he's been on the DL in his career. The first baseman ended his streak of 547 consecutive games, the longest active streak in the majors. He had played in at least 157 games in each of his eight seasons with Milwaukee and Detroit prior to 2014.
Daniels said the typical recovery time is three-to-four months, meaning he should be ready to go for spring training next year. Daniels said Thursday that Fielder did not undergo a physical before the trade, which isn't unusual. The medical staffs of both sides exchanged documents and information because both players finished 2013 healthy.
Fielder had played 162 games in four of the previous five seasons, missing one game in 2010. Daniels added that the club probably wouldn't have discovered any neck issue unless Fielder had said something, which he didn't even during spring training exams.
"In this case, a cervical MRI, at least for us, has not been part of our standard physical," Daniels said. "A guy that had no history and no documentation, no treatment and no issues that anyone was aware of, had we done a physical, we wouldn't have done a cervical MRI. There may be other clubs that do that as standard practice. We're going to look into that. The bigger question is, 'How do we get better?'"
Mitch Moreland takes over as the everyday first baseman and manager Ron Washington said the club will rotate the DH spot to get certain guys off their feet when needed.
Washington said the team is ready to push forward.
"We know it's a challenge, but it's not anything to think about," Washington said. "We show up and play. Anything beyond that is an excuse. We don't make excuses in Texas."