Tigers 1B Prince Fielder filed for divorce in May

USA TODAY Sports

The slugger's recent troubles at the plate may be linked to personal struggles off the field.

In the wake of Wednesday comments from Tigers outfielder Torii Hunter that "off the field" issues that could be affecting teammate Prince Fielder's performance, it has been discovered that Fielder is in the process of getting a divorce, reports Tony Paul of the Detroit News.

Hunter spoke out in defense of Fielder on the radio Wednesday, stating:

"A lot of people don’t know what’s s going on in his life, but this guy’s a strong guy. He’s out there every day, won’t come out of the lineup – no matter what’s going on off the field or on the field."

Hunter's comments piqued the interest of several reporters, who went in search what sort of off-the-field issues could be plaguing the slugging first baseman. Through the Orange County (Fla.) Clerk's office, it was discovered that Fielder filed for divorce from Chanel, his wife of eight years, on May 28 and has been dealing with the divorce proceedings since then.

While it is a gross oversimplification to pin all of Fielder's struggles at the plate on the tumult of his personal life, it's not out of bounds to say it has probably had some negative impact on his performance.

Fielder had a strong April, but he has struggled to find any sort of consistency in the four months since. He hit seven big flies in the season's first month but has managed just 10 more in his last 94 games. Overall, the 29-year-old is hitting .262/.352/.430 with 17 home runs in 534 plate appearances this year.

Fielder signed a nine-year, $214 million contract with the Tigers in Jan. 2012. He is owed $23 million in salary this year, then $24 million over each of the next seven seasons.

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