If you thought the Tigers had injury problems in 2014, take a look across the diamond tomorrow evening. The Texas Rangers have been pillaged by injuries all season long, leaving some to ask the bold question: "who's healthy?" Yesterday's news that Prince Fielder would require season-ending neck surgery was just the latest in a long line of trips to the disabled list and the operating table for the Rangers in 2014.
Fielder's streak of 547 consecutive games played ended earlier this week after pain in his neck progressed to some left arm weakness, leading to a diagnosis of a herniated disc in his neck. News broke yesterday that Fielder would undergo spinal fusion surgery -- ending his season -- though some have reported that he will still seek a second opinion. While he was expected to be a major part of their offense, Fielder has not been very productive this year. He is hitting just .247/.360/.360 and is worth -0.4 WAR.
Somewhat masked by the Fielder news was a report on second baseman Jurickson Profar, who has yet to see the field in 2014 due to a torn teres major muscle suffered during Spring Training. He apparently suffered a setback after he turned over in bed awkwardly, and will likely miss another 8-12 weeks of action. Only 21 and already a former top overall prospect, Profar is expected to be one half of the Rangers' middle infield tandem for years to come.
Finally, outfielder Daniel Robertson will likely miss some time after colliding with Alex Rios in the outfield during yesterday's game. Robertson suffered multiple displacement fractures in his face, which sounds awful. Apparently he's one tough dude, because the team still isn't sure if he will go to the disabled list. I would be surprised to see him again this weekend, though.
Got all that? Because that was just yesterday's news.
Derek Holland is out until mid-season or later after undergoing microfracture surgery in his left knee in January. He threw off of a mound in early April, and is still on track for a return around the All-Star Break. Neftali Feliz is still trying to work his way back from Tommy John surgery he had in August 2012. He is currently pitching in the minor leagues, but is not on a rehab assignment so the team has no timetable established for his return. He has allowed six runs in 10 2/3 innings for Triple-A Round Rock this season. Martin Perez and Matt Harrison are both out for the season due to Tommy John and spinal fusion surgeries, respectively. Tanner Scheppers is recovering from elbow inflammation, but is currently working out of the bullpen. Relievers Joe Ortiz and Pedro Figueroa are injured as well. Joe Saunders is also hurt, which is unfortunate for the Tigers' offense but fortunate for their dugouts.
The list of position players currently on the shelf is shorter, but still ridiculous. Third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff, who hit .362/.412/.617 in 13 games when Adrian Beltre was on the disabled list, is sidelined after having back surgery to repair a herniated disc. Catcher Geovany Soto is out for three months after right knee surgery. Infielder Donnie Murphy is out with a strained neck, while outfielders Jim Adduci and Engel Beltre are missing in action because of fractures to their left pinky and right leg, respectively.
The fact that the Rangers can survive this laundry list of injuries and still field a competitive team is testament to their star power -- Beltre, Elvis Andrus, Shin-Soo Choo, and Yu Darvish are all healthy at the moment -- and the incredible depth in their farm system. That said, the Tigers need to be able to get the job done this weekend against a shorthanded squad in order to put the stink of the last four games behind them.