Fuld's Return on Hold

Cubs outfield prospect Sam Fuld was zeroing in on a return to the starting lineup at Class-A Daytona two weeks ago after spending the past month on the disabled list.

That was two weeks ago.

Fuld, a 10th-round pick from Stanford in 2004, has since learned that he will require 6-8 weeks of rest while recovering from a hip injury.

"I was close to returning, was feeling better," Fuld explained. "I was getting ready to come back, testing my hip. I was running pretty hard and it flared up a bit. After that, I got an MRI and they found some bursitis. The only way to treat it is with rest. I'm still staying here in Daytona with the team."

The 24-year-old Fuld hit .300 in 89 games for Daytona this season, and stole 22 bases in 25 attempts. He drew 40 walks and finished with an on-base percentage of .378.

Fuld last played on July 29 against Clearwater. The center fielder will finish tied with two others atop the Florida State League for the league's longest hitting streak of the season: 17 games.

A late addition to the league All-Star team in June, the lefty hitting leadoff man reached base safely in all of his 27 games in May. Overall, he reached base in 33 consecutive games from May 1 through June 6.

"Hopefully it's not too big of a deal," an upbeat Fuld said of the injury. "It could be worse. I could need a hip replacement."

Hip-related injuries have been commonplace in the farm system recently. At Double-A, West Tenn outfielders Nic Jackson and Chris Walker were both plagued with injuries pertaining to their hip flexors. Walker missed a week of playing time in July, and Jackson was shut down for the year a week before Fuld's last game of 2006.

Earlier this year, Fuld spent time on the disabled list while recovering from a bulged disc in his back. He missed over two weeks from late June through early July.

The news is disappointing for not only Fuld, but his Daytona teammates. The Cubs are currently 35-28 in the second half, tied for first place with Palm Beach in the Eastern Division with less than a week remaining in regular season play.

The Cubs finished 35-35 in the first half and must either win the second-half division title, or finish with the best overall record of the remaining five teams in the division to qualify for the post-season should first-half champion St. Lucie win the second half.

Daytona was scheduled to face Vero Beach on Tuesday, but the Dodgers elected to postpone the two remaining games in the series due to the looming threat of Tropical Storm Ernesto. The games will not be re-scheduled. Daytona is scheduled to resume play Thursday at home against Brevard County. The regular season wraps up Saturday.

Along with the Tampa Yankees, Daytona was named Florida State League co-champions in 2004. The league championship series was cancelled due to Hurricane Ivan. Daytona also won FSL titles in 2000 and 1995.

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