Tigers slugger Prince Fielder said Seattle wasn't in the running at the end of offseason bidding.
DETROIT — The Tigers’ Prince Fielder says the negotiations with the Mariners last winter were all right and he still considers general manager Jack Zduriencik a good friend.
But before Wednesday’s game against Seattle, Fielder also said the Mariners weren’t in the running when he made his decision. The Mariners did engage in discussions with Fielders agent, Scott Boras, but it was never clear how serious the talks were or how far the Mariners were willing to go to land the slugger.
“I don’t think it was that serious,” Fielder said. “I think Scott (Boras) was definitely not turning them away.”
But, in the end, Fielder said he was leaning toward the Washington Nationals until the Tigers offered a seven-year contract worth $214 million.
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“Actually, these guys were last minute, really,” he said of Detroit. “They called me Tuesday and it was done Thursday.”
As for the Mariners, Fielder added: “Yeah, it definitely was a possibility. But, like I said, it just didn’t happen.”
Fielder spent part of the winter with a small group of major-leaguers touring Europe and staging baseball clinics. One of those was Mariners outfielder Greg Halman, who Fielder got to know just weeks before the outfielder was stabbed to death in The Netherlands.
“A cool, laid back guy,” Fielder said of Halman. “He was a lot of fun to be around. It wasn’t hard to get to like him.”
Fister still injured
Former Mariners starter Doug Fister, traded to the Tigers last summer, said Wednesday he doesn’t know when he’ll return from a rib injury on his left side. Fister was injured in his first start of the season and is being treated daily.
His experience since the trade, helping the Tigers to the playoffs, has left Fister confident he’ll be even better when he returns.
“It’s something I’ve learned from and still hope to continue to draw from,” Fister said. “It gives me a taste in my mouth to want to come back and keep going.”
The biggest thing he gained?
“Learning how to deal with myself,” he said of coping with setbacks on the mound. “To be able to step off (the rubber), take a couple of deep breaths and get back out there and do the same job as before.”
• Dustin Ackley got his first start leading off Wednesday as Chone Figgins was given a night off. Brendan Ryan was moved up to No. 2 in the order.
• Mariners manager Eric Wedge said before the game that Alex Liddi, who hit his second homer in as many nights Wednesday, would be looked at as an outfielder by the team at some point.
Geoff Baker: 206-464-8286 or firstname.lastname@example.org. On Twitter @gbakermariners