Results tagged ‘ Prince Fielder ’

Illness sidelines Fielder, Braddock

Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder was sent home to begin a program of antibiotics for a sinus infection, the latest annoyance for a club that has sure had its share this spring. 

For those scoring at home, that’s eight of the nine projected Opening Day starters who have missed a Spring Training game with some sort of medical matter. Reliever Zach Braddock is sick, too, and will miss his scheduled outing against the Padres on Tuesday. 
Fielder cut short his batting practice on Monday, complained of feeling ill and was scratched from the starting lineup for a game that was ultimately rained out. With Fielder still out on Tuesday, here’s Milwaukee’s lineup for the day before the off-day:

Rickie Weeks  2B
Carlos Gomez  CF

Ryan Braun  LF
Casey McGehee  3B
Mark Kotsay  RF
Yuniesky Betancourt  SS
George Kottaras  C
Erick Almonte  1B
Marco Estrada  RHP
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Fielder to Saito: Take your time

Here’s what Prince Fielder had to say about Takashi Saito, who left camp this morning to gather information about family in earthquake-ravaged Japan:
“We love that guy, and we obviously wish him the best,” Fielder said. “He was able to contact his wife and kids, which is awesome. That’s a little bit of pressure off your chest. I wish him the best, and I hope he just takes his time and does whatever he needs to do to make sure the rest of his family alright. This [baseball] is secondary right now. We’re going to be fine. He needs to make sure everything is all right.”
Fielder knows the area hit by Friday’s earthquake well because he visited Japan during the offseason as part of a Major League Baseball goodwill tour. 
Saito is a favorite of Fielder’s oldest son, Jadyn, who is a regular at Maryvale Baseball Park. One recent morning, Saito provided sound effects while Jadyn played with action figures. 
By the way, I’m told that Saito’s translator, Kosuke Inaji, also has extended family in Japan but that they live on the country’s west coast, away from the worst of the damage.
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Some small ball from Fielder

Big Brewers first baseman Prince Fielder drew hoots and hollers when he bunted for a base hit in Sunday’s intrasquad game. Don’t be completely shocked if he tries it again during the regular season. 
Most clubs vacate third base when the left-handed-hitting Fielder is at bat and shift the defense around to right field. He’s been encouraged before to drop an occasional bunt to foil that strategy. 
“They’ve always encouraged it, I’ve always been a little stubborn,” Fielder said. “I’ve given it a half [hearted] try, maybe. Not that I’m going to be [former big league speedster] Brett Butler, but why not? … Especially against a tough pitcher. When you have a tough pitcher on the mound, and you have a shift, and you smoke a ball to the right side, you get defeated at times. If I can help the team, I might try [bunting] a couple of times.” 
Fielder’s bunt on Sunday came right after shortstop Yuniesky Betancourt hit a solo home run. Fielder pushed the baseball right along the third-base line. 
“It was a little too close to the line,” Fielder said. “I don’t have to be too perfect, that’s the thing. [Carlos] Gomez helps me. Sometimes I try to be too perfect, because sometimes I think they’re still going to throw me out if I bunt it.” 
The key, manager Ron Roenicke said, is picking the right spot to bunt. 
“Especially if he’s leading off an inning and they want to over-shift, the score is going to tell when it’s a good time,” Roenicke said. “if we’re down a couple of runs in the eighth or ninth inning and we need a baserunner, I’m fine with him bunting anywhere there.”
Anything to avoid those frustrating line-drive outs that are hits for everybody else. 
“That hurts my feelings,” Fielder joked. 
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Prince, Greinke have history

When Prince Fielder met Zack Greinke in 2001, he didn’t know Greinke would someday be the American League Cy Young Award winner. Fielder didn’t know Greinke could pitch at all. 
The Orlando natives played together in showcases when they were high school juniors and seniors. Fielder was a first baseman, of course, and Greinke played third base. 
“I didn’t know he pitched until I say him on TV [later],” Fielder said. “I knew he could throw hard, but I knew he could hit, too. He hit third in the showcase, so that’s pretty good.” 
Greinke will get his chance to hit in 2011. After seven seasons with the Royals in the AL, including a 2009 in which he 16-8 for a 65-97 team, posted a 2.16 ERA and won the Cy Young Award, Greinke was traded to the Brewers in December. He should fit right in – Brewers pitchers led the league last year in batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, home runs and RBIs. 
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Fielder arrives in camp

A smiling Prince Fielder arrived in Brewers camp Sunday eager to play baseball. Too bad he was surrounded by reporters eager to talk about his steady march toward free agency.

“You guys can talk about it,” Fielder said, “but I’m going to give you my answer.”
And that answer?
“I don’t know how to do all that [business] stuff,” Fielder said. “I’m playing baseball.”
In other words, he’s not going to offer any updates. 
“Pretty much,” Fielder said with a smile. “But you can ask.”
So we did, and here are some of the topics Fielder discussed his little scrum Sunday morning:
Was it tough watching Brewers pitchers struggle over the past two seasons?
“You don’t blame any one side. The frustrating part is losing, period. I don’t care if the pitching’s great and we’re not hitting good, or if we’re hitting good and the pitching [poor], a loss is a loss. As a team, we don’t [point fingers]. You want to stay positive.”
On a new manager and a partially new staff:
“Once you’re in Spring Training, it’s all baseball. I talked to [Ron Roenicke] in the offseason over the phone to make introductions. It’s cool.”
On entering his 10th professional season:
“Wow, I didn’t think about that. That’s pretty cool. It’s gone by pretty fast until you think about it. I think it’s gone by fast because I have kids. When you see them, it makes it seem faster.”
Is he a different guy now than he was in ’02?
“Hopefully. I want to get better every year.”
Did he reflect on his 2010 season after it was over?
“Honestly, I didn’t reflect on it at all when I got home. I started hanging out with my kids. … I wouldn’t call [the experience in 2010] adversity. I just played baseball, and I don’t see it as that dramatic. [Pitchers] aren’t going to just throw it down the middle.
“I was just trying to contribute as much as I could to win, and I got anxious. That’s just how I am. I just want to win, and sometimes I get a little overanxious. But once I kind of realized what was going on and helped win by trying to score runs and having good baserunning, getting on base, that helped more than me trying to swing and making outs for no reason.”
Was there a turning point in reaching that outlook?
“Kind of, and then I got tired of making outs on bad pitches. When you do that enough times, you start to get tired of it and you try a different way.”
Did last year, particularly the final home game when he walked off the field to a standing ovation, feel like goodbye to Milwaukee?
“I don’t know. Not really. I thought I was going to be back here, but with everything being said, you never know. I thought I was going to be here, but you never know. This is where I play.”
Did he pay any attention to the Albert Pujols situation?
“Not really at all, actually. I’m just playing baseball. I don’t know what his situation is, anyway.”
As a fan of baseball, does he think it would be cool to see Pujols remain in St. Louis beyond this season?
“I think it would be cool for him to go wherever he’s happy. Whatever makes him happy, I think he does it.”
Is he really able to block out all of the contract talk?
“Yeah, especially this year because we have a good team. I’m just focused on winning. It’s easy to block things out when you have a good team and you know you have a chance to win.”
Fielder was happy for Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks, an offseason neighbor in Orlando who signed a contract extension last week. 
“He was healthy, and that was the big thing,” Fielder said. “He was healthy and showed everybody what he could do.”
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Wisconsin family needs your help

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I wrote a feature for Brewers.com today about a little boy named Treyton Kilar, and I hope his story touches you as much as it did me. He was killed in September in a car crash involving a drunk driver, and his family is turning their tragedy into something good for the community. 

That’s where you come in. The Kilars are in the running for a $250,000 grant from the Pepsi Refresh Project. You can cast a vote for the project once three times per day through Jan. 31 at www.refresheverything.com/treytonkilar.
[Thanks to Mary Kilar for pointing out that you're not limited to one vote per day because you can actually cast separate ballots via e-mail, text and Facebook. So that makes three.]
The top two proposals will win, and as I write this, the Kilar family is still in second place. Let’s try to at least keep them there.
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Fielder knows next contract will be big

“It’s cool,” Prince Fielder said Tuesday of his $15.5 million payday. He knows the next one is going to be even better. 

Fielder’s one-year contract for 2011 set a Brewers record for a single-season payout, and will take the slugging first baseman right to the brink of free agency. He figures to be on the top players on the market next winter and will seek a multi-year deal well into nine-figure territory. 
“Of course you think about that,” Fielder said. “That’s just a big part of your career, when you sign a long-term deal. That’s a big deal, so of course you think about it.
“But the thing right now is I’m enjoying being signed for this year and I’m getting ready for spring.”
Even a few months ago, it seemed unlikely that Fielder and the Brewers would be together for 2011. Considering Fielder’s looming free agency, the lack of progress in talks about a contract extension and the Brewers’ dire need for pitching, you had to wonder whether the team would be forced to trade its star first baseman. Brewers fans gave Fielder what felt like a parting ovation during the 2010 home finale.
Instead, general manager Doug Melvin was able to acquire Shaun Marcum from the Blue Jays and Zack Greinke from the Royals without parting with Fielder. Now, the Brewers are poised to contend in 2011.
“Like I always said, I was expecting to still be playing with the Brewers,” Fielder said. “I’m still under contract with them, I wasn’t a free agent or anything, and all offseason I was expecting to come back to them.”
With Tuesday’s business accomplished, he can do just that.
“I’m very happy we were able to get the deal done and now all of that’s taken care of,” Fielder said. “I really wasn’t thinking of all the scenarios too much. I’m just happy it’s done now and I can go play baseball.”
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Fielder, Parra avoid arbitration

Updated at 1 p.m. CT with Parra’s salary: $1.2 million, plus $50,000 for making the All-Star team.
The Brewers stuck a record $15.5 million, one-year agreement with first baseman Prince Fielder and also signed left-hander Manny Parra, leaving three players still eligible for arbitration. 
Fielder will earn the highest single-season salary in Brewers history, $2 million more than is due organizational newcomer Zack Greinke in 2011. He’s entering his final season of Brewers control before reaching free agency. 
“It’s a big number. We’re expecting Prince to go out there and have a big year,” said Brewers general manager Doug Melvin, who handled negotiations with Fielder’s agent, Scott Boras. 
“He’s had some big years in the past for us,” Melvin said. “He led the league in walks last year, and I think he showed an unselfishness in that regard by taking walks and maybe sacrificing some of the power. If you go by what he’ done, he’s had a very good year and then an off-year, then a very good year and a little bit of an off year. So if you go by that docket, he’ll have a very big year for us [in 2011].”
SI.com’s Jon Heyman was first to report Fielder’s salary figure, and also reported that Fielder would earn $100,000 for winning National League MVP honors, $75,000 for runner-up and $50,000 for third place, plus $50,000 for being elected to start the All-Star Game or $25,000 for being selected by National League manager Bruce Bochy or the players. Fielder would also get $25,000 for winning NL Championship Series MVP and $50,000 for World Series MVP.
Fielder earned $10.5 million in 2010 while slugging through what was by his own very high standards a down season, batting .261 with 32 home runs, 83 RBIs and an .871 OPS. He’d driven in 141 runs with a 1.014 OPS the year before. 
Earlier last year, Melvin was engaged with Boras in talks about a multi-year contract for Fielder, but those discussions did not progress. They focused exclusively on a one-year agreement in recent weeks, according to Melvin, who could not say whether the multi-year talks could be re-opened now that a 2011 contract is in place. 
“We haven’t addressed that,” Melvin said. “And if we did, we wouldn’t comment.”
Parra will earn $1.2 million in 2011, plus $50,000 for making the All-Star team. He earned $440,000 last season and was 3-10 with a 5.02 ERA, bounced to the Brewers’ bullpen for the third consecutive season. Parra did find some success in relief, with a 2.39 ERA in 26 appearances. He struck out 2.73 batters per walk as a reliever, versus 1.83 strikeouts to walks in his 16 starts.
With Fielder and Parra in the books, the Brewers have three players still eligible for arbitration: Second baseman Rickie Weeks, starter Shaun Marcum and reliever Kameron Loe. Tuesday was the date on which teams and their unsigned players swapped proposals for one-year contracts.
“We’re going to have to file terms with some of them,” Melvin said ahead of that afternoon deadline. 
After figures are exchanged, the next step in the arbitration process is a hearing date in February, a conclusion the Brewers hope to avoid. The sides can continue negotiating until that date, and in the vast majority of cases around baseball, they reach an agreement somewhere between the filing figures. 
Fielder was not the Brewers’ only key player eligible for arbitration. Weeks ($2.75 million salary last season) is the starting second baseman, is coming off a career year and, like Fielder, is on a path to reach free agency after 2011. Assistant GM Gord Ash has been talking with Weeks’ agent, Greg Genske, about a multi-year deal. 
Marcum ($850,000) is coming off a career year with the Blue Jays and will fit with Zack Greinke and Yovani Gallardo atop Milwaukee’s starting rotation. He missed all of 2009 following Tommy John elbow surgery but rebounded to go 13-8 with a 3.64 ERA in the tough American League East. He was Toronto’s Opening Day starter last year. 
The Brewers are open to multi-year talks with Marcum at some point, but for now are talking about a one-year agreement, Melvin said. Brewers negotiator Teddy Werner is handling those talks with agent Jim Turner.
Loe, who drew on a $650,000 salary during his four months in the Majors, developed into a key Brewers reliever, posting a 2.78 ERA in 58 games beginning June 1. 
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Fielder looking trim

A big tip of the cap is due to Brew Crew Ball, via NBC Sports blogger Craig Calcaterra (who I was happy to meet at the Winter Meetings) for digging up some photos of Prince Fielder’s trip to the Far East as part of a Major League Baseball outreach program. I agree that in almost all of the photos he’s looking rather trim, and I thought I’d pass along some more shots, all courtesy of Getty Images. 

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Dodgers shoot down Fielder rumor

The Dodgers were quick to shoot down a report from ESPN Los Angeles that they were considering trading closer Jonathan Broxton and first baseman James Loney to the Brewers for slugging first baseman Prince Fielder. 
The initial report said the sides were “actively involved in discussions,” but Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti said that was not so. 
Other reports reinforced Colleti’s denial. FoxSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal spoke to a source from one of the teams who said the teams had not even discussed such a swap. Yahoo!’s Steve Henson cited a source saying the Dodgers had “zero interest” in Fielder. 
It’s not surprising to see Fielder’s name pop up in a Winter Meetings rumor. The Brewers have not had any success in talks with agent Scott Boras about an extension for the 26-year-old, who is arbitration-eligible for the last time and due a raise from his $10.5 million salary in 2010. Fielder is on track to reach free agency after the 2011 season. 
The  Brewers’ previous talks with other teams have all centered around starting pitching, but general manager Doug Melvin has found that other teams are unwilling to offer what Milwaukee officials consider fair value for Fielder. 
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