ARLINGTON (AP) – Jon Daniels says the Texas Rangers “probably could have pushed” the return of slugger Prince Fielder to their lineup later this season if they were in a pennant race.
The general manager said Thursday that makes no sense now for the Rangers, who have the worst record in the major leagues.
Fielder had cervical fusion of two disks in his neck May 27. It has long been expected that he wouldn’t play again this season and would be healthy for spring training.
Daniels addressed Fielder and other injured players near the end of a conference call with beat writers after the non-waiver trading deadline passed without Texas making any deals Thursday.
The Rangers don’t expect right-handers Tanner Scheppers or Alexi Ogando to pitch again for them this season, with both dealing with elbow issues. Daniels also ruled out returns this season for second baseman Jurickson Profar (right shoulder tear) and infielder Kevin Kouzmanoff (second surgery for herniated disk in back). Profar got hurt in spring training and had a setback during rehab, while Kouzmanoff has been out since late April.
Daniels, who at one point described himself as sleep deprived, said he got calls from other teams inquiring about several Rangers players before Thursday’s deadline. The most discussions were about right fielder Alex Rios and left-handed reliever Neal Cotts.
“It didn’t line up ultimately, and that’s OK,” Daniels said. “We’re happy keeping players that were asked about.”
Texas has a club option for next season on Rios, who they acquired last August after the non-waiver trading deadline. Daniels said there have been preliminary discussions with Cotts about returning next season.
Texas traded closer Joakim Soria and reliever Jason Frasor earlier in July. Those deals that yielded three pitchers now in the Rangers’ minor-league system.
When Fielder played his last game May 16, he had appeared in 547 consecutive games since 2010, then the longest active streak in the majors. The first baseman hit .247 with three home runs and 16 RBIs in 42 games in his first season with Texas after being acquired last November from Detroit for Ian Kinsler. Fielder is under contract through 2020.
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