MILWAUKEE -- It turned out that the home run he hit in St. Louis last week did not spark the Brewers' most famous vegetarian to a home run binge. But Prince Fielder's manager remains convinced that the slugger's decision to cut meat from his diet has nothing to do with his early-season sputtering. "Whatever he does is right for him," Brewers manager Ned Yost said. "Everybody wants to make a big deal out of a young man trying to eat healthy. That doesn't have anything to do with it. You can 'grease up' all you want, it's not going to help you hit home runs." But it is a big deal to some because Fielder has not looked himself all year, including the four weeks of Spring Training. In 130 at-bats -- 65 in spring and 65 in the regular season, entering Tuesday -- Fielder had two home runs and 11 extra-base hits. He entered the game batting .215 and it did not take a baseball scout to see that Fielder was not driving the baseball like he did through most of 2007.
Last season, Fielder batted .288 with 50 home runs, 35 doubles and two triples in 573 at-bats and finished third in National League MVP balloting. "I'll look at it in August or September," Yost said of Fielder's current stat line. "I don't look at it now. I don't even know if you call it confidence -- I just know that he's going to get hot and do what he's supposed to do, whatever that is. "I don't even know if he's going to hit 50 home runs. He might hit 30 home runs. He might hit 35 home runs. But I guarantee you, he's going to help us win more ballgames." Fielder switched to a vegetarian diet in February after his wife gave him a book that detailed some of the less-appetizing aspects of the meat processing industry. The Brewers have kept an eye on him since. Players weigh in weekly and work closely with the team's athletic training staff to maintain strength and conditioning, but Fielder has not gotten any special attention regarding his diet, according to assistant general manager Gord Ash. The Brewers brought in a nutritionist on Monday for a presentation to players. During Spring Training, a representative of Gatorade spoke about the importance of staying hydrated. Yost said the team had removed certain items from the clubhouse dining room and was focused on presenting more healthy options. "We give them the information and what they do from there is pretty much up to them," Ash said. "We can control what we serve in the clubhouse and make good choices available, but we're not there to watch what they eat the rest of the day. All we can do is educate and facilitate players meeting with experts. That's what happened [Monday]." Ash was not aware of Fielder seeking extra dietary counsel.
Adam McCalvy is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.