It wasn't the first time Fuld had suffered a shoulder injury. He did not make his debut in the Chicago Cubs' farm system until this year because of a torn labrum and partially torn rotator cuff suffered in a postseason regional game at Stanford during his senior season with the Cardinal.
Fuld says the shoulder he injured earlier this month was the same one that caused him to sit out much of last year.
"It was my throwing shoulder," Fuld said. "I was a little concerned. Obviously with the history I've had, I couldn't help but worry just a little about it. I've met with my doctor and he gave some encouraging news. He said the two injuries are unrelated despite being on the same shoulder. So at this point, I'm pretty optimistic."
Fuld did not know how serious the shoulder injuries he sustained last year at Stanford were until after the draft, when he went to the Cubs' training complex in Mesa (Ariz.) and got examined by the team's medical staff. He says surgery was an option, but one that he decided to forgo.
"I have no regrets (about abstaining from surgery)," said Fuld. "Everything has been going relatively well. If anything, my throwing arm has gotten stronger."
The Chiefs, 17-22 and eight games out of first in the Midwest League's Western Division, have been hit with a plethora of injuries this year. Top prospect Ryan Harvey has missed several games with back spasms; second baseman Eric Patterson missed over two weeks with a hamstring injury; and Peoria's scheduled first baseman to start the year, Ryan Norwood, suffered a severe left ankle sprain just 24 hours before the team's regular season opener and was sent to extended spring training in Mesa.
With all the injuries the Chiefs have endured this season, it would be easy to see how the team's morale might be somewhat deflated amidst the setbacks. But Fuld disagrees.
"We all understand that it's part of the game," he said. "We've had our fair share of injuries certainly. Everyone expects that to happen. We have enough depth to make up for it, though."
Before Fuld went on the DL, he began to heat up after being moved further down in the lineup. He began the year as the team's leadoff hitter, but batted only .172 in the first month of the season.
"Obviously when you're in the leadoff spot, you'll see more breaking balls and tougher pitches to hit than if you're batting further down," Fuld admits. "It's definitely an advantage to hit ninth or so. I just wasn't seeing the ball or putting any good swings on it (at the leadoff spot). When I moved further down, it helped. If anything, it helped my confidence."
Before going on the DL, Fuld had hit safely in five straight games, going 7-for-14 in that span. He said it was frustrating for him to heat up and then miss over a week's worth of playing time.
"There's nothing you can do about it, though," says Fuld. "There's really no point in worrying about it. It's one of those things where hopefully I can pick up where I left off."
Since returning from the DL, Fuld is 2-for-14 with two walks. He stole two bases in Tuesday's 9-2 loss at Burlington and is batting .217 for the year in 29 games.
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