Spring Training Q&A: Sam Fuld

<B>MESA, Ariz.</B> - Sam Fuld is one of the all-time greats in Stanford baseball history. The 23-year-old left-handed hitting outfielder says he'll always cherish his success in four years with the Cardinal, but that all of it goes "out the window" starting now.

Inside The Ivy: Sam, tell us a little about your playing days at Stanford.

Sam Fuld: I had a great experience there. We had a lot of success as a team and I enjoyed every year I had there. There were some great moments during the regular season and obviously in the postseason as well. I wouldn't have traded that for anything in the world.

Inside The Ivy: With all the records that now belong to you in Cardinal history (such as the all-time leader in runs scored and at-bats), do you carry those achievements and your success with you over to the professional level?

Sam Fuld: Well, I think it's a different stage. It's now a totally new game and I don't really rest on those records at all. There's no point in relying on them or thinking about what's happened in the past; it kind of goes out the window at this point. Everyone who plays at the pro level has obviously had some success in the past. Everyone realizes that and there's no point to really dwelling on it.

Inside The Ivy: You're originally from New Hampshire but ended up on the west coast in college. How did that come about?

Sam Fuld: Well, when I was searching for a college, I just wanted to find a school with good academic and baseball programs. Stanford was pretty tough to beat in regards to those two, and I really just had one opportunity. I played in a game in Long Beach, Calif. and had been in touch with the coaches before then, and that was the only opportunity they got to see me play before signing. Luckily, I played well.

Inside The Ivy: You've always shown good plate discipline and a knack for getting on base. In your opinion, what set you apart from some of the more aggressive, less disciplined hitters in the Pac 10?

Sam Fuld: Well, I just always knew that walks could be a real vital part of somebody's game, especially for a guy that hits at the top of the order like I. There are a lot of ways to get on base. It may not always show up on your average necessarily, but I take a lot of pride in walking and seeing a lot of pitches.

Inside The Ivy: You were originally drafted by the Cubs in 2003 but did not sign. What was the biggest reason you signed in 2004 instead of the year before?

Sam Fuld: There were a number of factors. For one, I wanted to go back and finish up at school. Either way I was going to get my degree; I just knew it would be nice to have it out of the way as opposed to it lingering on in the background. I also wanted to have another chance to do some things both individually and team-wise at Stanford. After my junior year, we ended the season in a tough way and that kind of left some bitterness in my mouth, so I wanted to go back and help the team out. Besides, the whole college experience is something you can't really trade for anything.

Inside The Ivy: When you were drafted a second time by the Cubs, what went through your mind? Was it a sense of dread, or were you looking forward to getting another chance at potentially playing in the Windy City?

Sam Fuld: No, I was definitely excited. To be honest, I was also very surprised. I thought the Cubs would be one of the last teams who would want to draft me, but at the same time I was very happy. I knew the Cubs had a great reputation and they've been nothing but good to me, so I was excited.

Inside The Ivy: After you signed, we didn't hear a lot out of you for the rest of the year, because you injured your shoulder in the postseason. Tell us how the injury came about and give us an update on things.

Sam Fuld: I hurt it just prior to the draft in a regional game. I came out to Mesa right when I first signed and took a physical, and that's when I first learned of the news. I suffered a torn labrum and a partially torn rotator cuff. I injured it just diving for a ball in the outfield. I didn't have to have surgery, but they elected to have me spend the whole summer here, and a lot of my time was spent just strengthening muscles around that area. So far, it's been a great recovery.

Inside The Ivy: What are some of the things you're currently working on in regards to your game?

Sam Fuld: Oh, man. Well, number one is just staying healthy and getting back into the swing of things—that's the main goal. It seems like it has been so long since I've actually taken part of a real game that I just want to get my swing back and stay strong. I'm just so eager to get going.

Inside The Ivy: Often times when players spend four years in college, they go immediately into full-season action at one of the Class-A levels. Do you imagine yourself following suit this year?

Sam Fuld: I don't like to think about it too much. I'm working with the Peoria group right now, so ideally I'd like go to a full-season team. But I have no say in it.

Fuld set the College World Series record for career hits with 24 in June 2003. He surpassed former Cub Keith Moreland, who totaled 23 hits for Texas from 1973-75.

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