Fielder to bat third for Rangers

Slugger reports to spring training with new look

By The Sports Xchange
POSTED: 10:10 PM MST Feb 19, 2014    UPDATED: 08:54 AM MST Feb 20, 2014 
Baseballs, sports, MLB

Prince Fielder not only has a new team this season, but a new spot in the batting order and a new look.

The Texas Rangers acquired the slugging first baseman from the Detroit Tigers in a November trade for second baseman Ian Kinsler. Rangers manager Ron Washington said Fielder will hit third in his batting order, behind left fielder Shin-Soo Choo and shortstop Elvis Andrus and in front of third baseman Adrian Beltre.

Fielder batted in the No. 4 spot in 1,031 of his 1,281 career starts over nine seasons with Milwaukee and Detroit, hitting behind such standouts as the Milwaukee Brewers' Ryan Braun and Detroit Tigers' Miguel Cabrera. However, Washington believes his lineup sets up better with Fielder hitting No. 3.

"Hitting in front of Beltre, that's not a bad thing," Fielder said. "I am not going to argue about it. You're going to do whatever the manager tells you to do but I think it definitely helps knowing where you're going to hit every day and just knowing where you're going to be."

Fielder can plan on hitting third every day as Washington said he will not move him. After Fielder and Beltre, Washington plans to finish off his lineup with right fielder Alex Rios, designated hitter Mitch Moreland, catchers Geovany Soto or J.P. Arencibia, second baseman Jurickson Profar and center fielder Leonys Martin.

"It's not only what it does for Prince but what it does for everybody in the lineup," Washington said of putting Fielder in the three spot. "Adrian is more productive in the four hole. It's important that everybody knows every single day where they are. There will be some juggling in the lineup but it won't be in the middle of the lineup."

The beefy Fielder reported to the Rangers' spring training camp in Surprise, Ariz., lighter than he was last season with the Tigers. However, Fielder said he did not know how much weight he lost because "scales are not allowed in my house."

He also cut off his dreadlocks over the winter. He is hoping the leaner physique and less hair will help him beat the sweltering summer heat of Arlington.

"I lift weights but not so heavy," Fielder said. "I'm not trying to be bulky. I'm trying to lean it out and be more athletic. It's going to be hot, not that it's going to affect me too much. I grew up in Florida, I grew up in Texas. It makes you tired but I just want to be athletic and not carry around so much weight."