Fiery Fielder earns Player of Week
Slugger honored day after emotional win over Pirates
MILWAUKEE -- Pirates catcher Ryan Doumit may consider Brewers slugger Prince Fielder "bush league," but at least Fielder is a bush leaguer with a nice watch.Fielder will be presented that Swiss Tourneau timepiece for winning National League Player of the Week honors on Monday, a day after Doumit took issue with Fielder's fiery outburst at home plate. Fielder homered twice earlier in the game, then scored the go-ahead run in the eighth inning and jumped up to let the Pirates know about it. "We got a little glimpse of what he is about right there," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. Fielder's outburst was partly directed at Pirates reliever Matt Capps. The day before, just after J.J. Hardy's three-run homer gave the Brewers some breathing room, Capps nearly hit Fielder in the head with a dubious fastball. The day after -- Monday -- Major League Baseball named Fielder the NL Player of the Week and slapped Capps with a four-game suspension. For the week, Fielder batted .440 (11-for-25), scored eight runs and had an on-base percentage of .533. His 12 RBIs led the Majors, and his four home runs, .960 slugging percentage and 24 total bases tied for the Major League lead. Other Brewers in contention for league honors included Hardy (.536, two home runs, nine RBIs), Jeff Suppan (2-0, 1.84 ERA, 10 strikeouts) and Carlos Villanueva (2-0, 0.00 ERA). "Good week to be a Brewer," Hardy said. "Anytime you win something like that it's a big deal," Fielder said. "But it's also good to win, I guess. We just need to keep playing hard. Everybody is doing great -- the good thing about winning is that everybody does well individually. Everybody's having fun, and everybody can't wait to get to the park." Fielder will not turn 23 until Wednesday, but he has developed into a leader for the first-place Brewers, who were a Major League-best 21-10 entering this week's series against the Washington Nationals. Part of Fielder's ascension to that role is related to the fire he showed on Sunday. That does not mean Doumit appreciated it. "I thought it was pretty bush league what he did afterwards," Doumit said following Milwaukee's 6-4 win. "There's no need for that. Especially after what he said in the paper [on Saturday], that 'we don't need to brawl ... J.J. took care of everything.' To do something like that is bush league in my opinion." Fielder's response? "Obviously he wasn't at the game before," Fielder said. "I don't know where he was. Honestly, his opinion doesn't really matter to me. "If that's his opinion, great. I'm glad he has his opinion. Freedom of speech. He has his opinions, I have mine." Things could get interesting when the Brewers and Pirates meet again July 2-5. Fielder downplayed the rivalry, and he repeatedly defended his actions on Saturday and Sunday. Some, including Yost, credited Fielder for just trotting to first base after taking Capps' pitch off his right elbow. "He did it the old-school way," Yost said. "He put his head down, went to first base and made them pay the next day." "What is it going to do for me to fight and get suspended?" Fielder said. "What good is that for my team? If I need to handle business that way, I'd rather do it off the clock. Why do it at my job? "I just play baseball, and if I want to fight, fight them that way, with the win." Fielder said he has played with emotion since Little League, a trait that at first worried his Major League dad, Cecil Fielder. But as time went on, the younger Fielder said, dad would get worried when Prince would not show emotion in key spots. "He figured out that's just how I am," Fielder said. "In certain situations, you've got to let it out, man. We're not librarians. That 'bush league' comment, I don't know. I was just having fun." Milwaukee's first-round pick in the 2002 First-Year Player Draft, Fielder batted .271 as a rookie last season and led NL rookies with 28 home runs while ranking third with 81 RBIs. Through Sunday, he was batting .298 with a team-best nine home runs and 26 RBIs. "You could see it pretty early, that he was special," Yost said. "But he's special like Rickie [Weeks] and J.J. and Corey Hart. They've got a different makeup. They are very talented players, but the thing that impresses me most is that they can handle adversity very, very well. That's a tough thing for a young player to be able to do. ... But if you can't handle adversity at a young age, you're going to get destroyed up here." Unless appealed, Capps's suspension will begin on Tuesday, when the Pirates are scheduled to play the Cubs at Wrigley Field.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.