Sam Fuld To Return For Senior Season

It came down to the wire, but in the end, it's good news for Stanford baseball fans. All-American center fielder Sam Fuld was unable to come to terms with the Chicago Cubs and he will return for one final season on The Farm. Read on for quotes from Fuld himself along with what this means for the 2004 Cardinal baseball squad.

Sam Fuld will be wearing a Stanford uniform in 2004.  The senior center fielder decided against signing with the Chicago Cubs after they drafted him in the 24th round last June and instead will play full four years on The Farm.  While this isn't a surprising move as Fuld certainly has a lot to gain by returning, there are always tense moments in the final weeks up until school starts as pro teams will often give into player demands and a deal will be struck.  That was not the case in this instance.

Fuld explains the events that took place over the past two days: "I talked to my advisor yesterday and they (the Cubs) did up their offer, but it wasn't enough.  It was a good offer, but it wasn't enough.  I'm planning on going to class tomorrow (Wednesday)."

While this isn't official until Fuld actually steps into the classroom tomorrow, he did take a major step in finalizing this process today.  "I met with the (Cubs') area scout today to finalize things and to sign a form that says that they can draft me next year.  That was a formality.  It's basically a done deal."

He continues, "To be honest, I wasn't expecting to be able to get it done.  I always thought that I would be coming back here.  I'm definitely excited to be back and there's no regrets at all."

So, what does this all mean for this year's Stanford baseball team?  For starters, it gives Stanford possibly the top outfield in the country.  Fuld teamed up with junior left fielder Danny Putnam (.348, 16 HR, 66 RBI in 2003) will form a lethal combination.  Who starts in right field to replace the departed Carlos Quentin is a question mark.  The likely candidates include Brian Hall (.293, 6 HR, 44 RBI, 18 SB in 2003), John Mayberry, Jr. (.299, 4 HR, 33 RBI), Chris Lewis (.159, 1 HR, 10 RBI). or freshmen Jim Rapoport (drafted in the 39th round by Cleveland).  The battle for this position will be watched closely when fall practice starts in a couple of weeks.

In addition, it also solidifies the top of the batting order for the Cardinal.  Fuld hit leadoff nearly every game last season (including all contests down the stretch and in the postseason) and he'll likely continue to hit in that spot this season.  Fuld has the ability to steal bases (was a perfect 10-for-10 last season) and he boasts a career batting average of .350 along with an on-base percentage of over .400.  Fuld will likely be joined at the top of the order by either Brian Hall, Jonny Ash, or possibly Jed Lowrie.  No matter what combination Mark Marquess uses to bat 1-2 in the lineup, there will be plenty of experience and talent at the top which is always a formula for success.

Fuld Facts
* Three-time All-Pac-10 performer, two-time All-American
* .350 career batting average is ninth all-time at Stanford
* Complied 110 hits in 2002 as a sophomore which is a single-season record at Stanford
* Scored 83 runs as a junior in 2003 which is tied for the most in a single-season on The Farm.
* 206 career runs is seventh all-time (only 38 away from #1 on the list)
* 288 career hits is fifth all-time (80 away from #1 at Stanford)
* 53 career doubles is tied for seventh all-time (27 shy of the top spot)
* 15 career triples is tied for fourth all-time (four away from #1 on the all-time list)
* Has the most hits all-time of any player during the College World Series

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