The always talkative Torii Hunter was interviewed by Ryan Ermanni and Rico Beard on Detroit Sports 105.1, and may have spoke a little too frankly about Prince Fielder. Hunter inferred the Tigers' first baseman is dealing with personal problems which have affected his play and fans should back off.
James Schmehl of Mlive transcribed Hunter's quotes about his teammate on Twitter.
Hunter: "Prince is a strong guy. A lot of people don't know what's going on in his life. This guy's a strong guy. He's out there every day."— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) August 13, 2013
Hunter on Fielder (continued) "He won't come out of the lineup, no matter what's going on off the field or on the field. He's a strong guy."— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) August 13, 2013
Hunter on Fielder (continued): "Us as players, we know what's really going on and we appreciate him going out there every day." The end.— James Schmehl (@jamesschmehl) August 13, 2013
Fielder didn't have much to say about the matter. As reported by Mlive's Chris Iott , Fielder wouldn't confirm anything Hunter said, preferring the story would go away.
"I'm going to turn the story off," Fielder said late Tuesday afternoon. "It's fine. Everything's fine."
Before tonight's game, via FSD's Dana Wakiji, Hunter offered an explanation.
#Tigers Hunter: I hate it when they said, they were talking about, he's not doing his job.— Dana Wakiji (@FSDwakiji) August 13, 2013
#Tigers Hunter: So when I got on the air, that's when I said, 'Hey, you don't know what's going on.' So I'm defending my guy.— Dana Wakiji (@FSDwakiji) August 13, 2013
#Tigers Hunter: Just because we make money, we're not human anymore? We all got family issues, trust me. But you won't ever see it.— Dana Wakiji (@FSDwakiji) August 13, 2013
#Tigers Hunter: My dad is a drug head, my dad's been in prison, just got out of prison. Want me to keep going?— Dana Wakiji (@FSDwakiji) August 13, 2013
Be it accidental or with good intentions, Fielder may not be happy with possible personal issues exposed. I'd rather not speculate on what may have been affecting Fielder, but those problems may explain quite a bit as to his down season.
Going into tonight's game, Fielder is hitting a mediocre .261/.352/.432, with 17 home runs and 81 RBIs. His .784 OPS is 132 points lower than his career number of .916. Fielder is tracking for career lows in most offensive categories, including batting average and home runs.