LAKELAND, Fla. (MCT) — Prince Fielder doesn't just want to hit.
He wants to run.
All the way home.
"Baserunning is a big part of the game, and that's another part of my job," Fielder said. "I think I should drive in runs, but if I have the opportunity to score, I like to, because you want everybody to score for you when you're hitting."
That's how a hitter gets RBI.
"So I think it's only fair to try to do the best I can to score for the guys behind me because I want the same in return," Fielder said. "I always try to fail on the side of my teammate. If I'm thrown out, then I was trying to score for my teammate and trying to help us win."
It has become clear in spring training games that Fielder is an alert, aggressive baserunner. The first time he swung the bat in a Tigers uniform — three weeks ago against Florida Southern — he thrilled manager Jim Leyland with how he churned for a double on a ball he hit down the rightfield line. Days later, Leyland raved about how Fielder moved up from second to third when a pitch got only a little bit away from the catcher.
In a recent game, Fielder did something he has done only nine times in the regular season in his seven-year career. He tripled.
Leyland said Fielder might get some triples this season when he hit the ball to the distant part of right-center in Comerica Park.
"I don't see why not," Fielder said. "Not that I'm a burner by any means, but I'm quick at times." When Fielder triples, he will be 90 feet from his goal — home plate and another RBI for a teammate.