MINNEAPOLIS -- Prince Fielder didn't go to Spring Training claiming he was in the best shape of his life. After his Opening Day performance, however, his manager was praising his workouts as much as his work.
"He's in very good shape," Jim Leyland said after Fielder went 2-for-4 Monday. "I mean, he worked very hard this winter. He's got a regimen that he does with somebody, but he's in tremendous shape. He was bouncing around real good."
Fielder said Wednesday that his offseason workouts focused on footwork, which might have helped him on potentially the biggest out of the game. He stretched to dig shortstop Jhonny Peralta's throw out of the dirt to retire pinch-hitter Wilkin Ramirez with runners on second and third and two outs in what was a 3-1 game in the sixth inning.
Fielder's slide home on Josh Roenicke's wild pitch was less graceful, but the eighth-inning run was a critical bit of insurance for a two-run lead as Leyland mixed and matched his bullpen for the save.
"That extra add-on run was huge," Leyland said. "That takes you off the lines [defensively] the next couple innings. You're not playing no-doubles [defense]."