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Rounding Third: Is Fielder injury too much for Rangers?

<p>The Texas Rangers currently have 14 players on the disabled list.</p>

Philadelphia, PA (SportsNetwork.com) - The Texas Rangers currently have 14 players on the disabled list.

That's twice as many as any other team in baseball.

But the 14th player placed on the list Thursday certainly is the one who hurt the most. And it may be the one who could be the death knell to the Rangers' 2014 hopes.

After dealing with neck pain for the last week, first baseman Prince Fielder was informed on Thursday that the herniated disk in his neck will require season-ending surgery.

Of course, he will get a second opinion, but it's expected to be the same, and a procedure has already been scheduled for next week in Dallas.

Fielder, who was acquired by Texas this offseason for second baseman Ian Kinsler, ends his first season for the Rangers hitting a mere .247 with three home runs and 16 RBI in 42 games.

Sometimes it's just not your year. Keep this in mind: Before this season, Fielder was a player who had played 547 straight games and had knocked in 100 runs in six of the previous seven seasons.

This, though, is just the icing on the cake for a Rangers team that finds itself one game under .500 entering Memorial Day weekend and in fourth place in the American League West, seven games back of the Oakland Athletics.

Now some are killing the Rangers for not giving Fielder a physical prior to making the deal. That's easy to say now, but from 2008 through 20013, Kinsler had more trips to the DL (five) than Fielder had missed games (four).

"A cervical MRI at least for us has not been part of our kind of standard physical," Daniels said. "And we are talking about a guy that has no history, no documentation, no treatment and no issues that anybody was aware of when we acquired him. Had we done a physical, we wouldn't have done a cervical MRI. I don't know, there may be other clubs that do that as standard practice, but we're going to look into that."

It's been one bad thing after another for the Rangers this season.

"I haven't ever been a part of anything like this ... never across the board to this degree," Daniels said. "You try to plan all offseason to give yourself depth, we did a better job in some areas than in others. But there is a limit to how many premium innings you can replace and how many premium offensive players you can replace.

"We had expectations at the beginning of the season that if we had a healthy club, we expected to contend and win. We've lost some guys, but these guys work hard, they believe in themselves and they get it done. They've got a lot of pride and I don't expect that to change."

How bad is it for the Rangers? Think about this, none of the five pitchers currently in their starting rotation were on the roster on Opening Day. And that includes all-world standout Yu Darvish, who, of course, began his campaign on the DL with some neck stiffness.

Perhaps it was a sign of things to come back in spring training when super prospect Jurickson Profar went down with a slight muscle tear in his shoulder. This was supposed to be the year that Profar got his chance and finally started to live up to all that potential we have heard about.

Well, not so much, and if you don't think the Rangers are snake bitten, Profar suffered a setback along the way and the team announced on Thursday that he'll have to start his rehabilitation process all over again.

Yes, he'll probably be lost for the season, too.

So, instead of the Fielder-Profar right side of the infield Daniels envisioned, the Rangers are likely to go with Mitch Moreland at first and rookies Rougned Odor and Luis Sardinas the rest of the way at second.

Sometimes, it's just not your year.

Amazingly, the Rangers were getting by without the production from Fielder and all these injuries. They had been as close as two games in the division just as recently as two weeks ago.

This, though, might be too much to overcome. From a mental standpoint, this could be the breaking point for a team that has been to the World Series twice in the last four years. .

Jokingly, I closed my Wednesday column about Stephen Drew with a question, asking if anyone out there was interested in free agent Kendrys Morales.

Well, the Rangers might be. But should they be?

Morales would cost them a draft pick, unless they sign him after the draft which is a few weeks away. The good news for Morales is now that teams know the Rangers may strike quick, they may start going after him a little harder, perhaps creating a bidding war for him.

Another team in the AL West, the Seattle Mariners, particularly come to mind. And they make sense for a few reasons. They need another bat, Morales has played there before and now with the Fielder injury, the Mariners may feel they could be that team to take the Rangers' spot in the AL West.

Let's be honest, though, they are both playing for second. Nobody is beating the A's in the AL West.

Still, the Fielder news is stinging. The Rangers thought they were a playoff team. Now they might be lucky to finish ahead of the Houston Astros. And with the way they've played lately and the young bodies in their system, that's not a given anymore.

Sometimes it's just not your year.

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