ARLINGTON, Texas -- An emotional Prince Fielder, with his young sons at his side, announced Wednesday that he can no longer physically play baseball.
Fielder, a designated hitter for the Texas Rangers, is still recovering from his second spinal fusion surgery in the past three years.
"The doctors told me since I had two spinal fusions, I can't play Major League Baseball anymore," Fielder said, his voice halting.
"So I want to just thank my teammates and the coaching staff. I'm going to really miss those guys. They're a lot a fun. I've been in a big league clubhouse since I was their age," he said, motioning toward his sons. "To not be able to play is going to be tough."
Fielder, who is still wearing a large neck brace, had missed one game in the previous five seasons before he was traded to Texas for second baseman Ian Kinsler before the 2014 season.
He played 42 games in 2014 before having his first surgery. He played 158 games last season, hitting .305 with 23 homers and 98 RBIs, helping the Rangers win the AL West.
Fielder was hitting .212 with eight homers and 44 RBIs this season. In three seasons with Texas, Fielder hit .269 with 34 homers and 158 RBIs in only 289 games.
"I really wish our fans had been able to see Prince at his best," general manager Jon Daniels said. "For about 10 years, he was one of the elite power hitters and baseball players in the game."
Fielder still has four years and $96 million remaining on the nine-year, $214 million deal he signed with Detroit in 2012.
The Rangers have an insurance policy that's expected to pay half of the remaining $72 million they owe Fielder. The Detroit Tigers are responsible for the other $24 million.
A number of Rangers players and officials took to social media to express their feelings over Fielder's exit.
We will miss you @RealPFielder28 great person and an amazing player thanks for teaching all of us so many great things! take care man— Ivan Pudge Rodriguez (@Pudge_Rodriguez) August 11, 2016
Sad day for @rangers as we had to lose not only a great teammate but a great friend. Truly one of the best and a great guy to have in the locker room. After watching the presser it was sad to see a friend a brother and a teammate have to walk away from the game. Taught me a lot and pushed me when needed. And hard working guy in the weight room and on the field. As well as the great things he has done off the field. He's been a great teammate. Thanks for everything you have done to help me and pushing me champ. Stay strong. Much love and god bless champ!
Fielder was still hitting below .200 in June. He became concerned after an 0-for-4 performance against the Los Angeles Angels.
"Finally, in Anaheim he got a few pitches to hit, and he couldn't deliver," said Scott Boras, Fielder's agent. "He said something's going on. We expected some DL time, but not this."