"Extended" Watch: Sam Fuld

Cubs outfield prospect Sam Fuld's plane ticket to East Tennessee was more or less stamped just before he went down late in spring camp with a strained right oblique muscle -- an injury that has kept him in Extended Spring Training for the time being.

Fuld batted .300 in 89 games a season ago with Class A Daytona and was named to the Florida State League All-Star team in June.

The 25-year-old reached base safely in 33 straight games at one point in 2006, and held a 17-game hitting streak before missing the final month of the season with a hip-related injury.

He underwent surgery in December to repair a sports hernia. The operation was performed by Dr. William Meyers, the same surgeon who operated on Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb in 2005.

Having recovered from the sports hernia injury, a then-healthy Fuld was counting down the days left in Minor League Spring Training before an oblique injury happened one day out of the blue. The injury came about after Fuld took a routine swing at a pitch during an at-bat against the Milwaukee Brewers Double-A squad in an exhibition game on Saturday, March 24.

"I got an inside pitch that I fought off a little and that was what did it," Fuld told Inside The Ivy. "I felt it as I was running down the first base line."

"If everything goes well, I should start playing in an Extended Spring Training game in about a week," he said on Monday.

Prior to the setback, Fuld had spent the bulk of his spring doing what he normally does each March: striving to take more pitches in his at-bats in an effort to work opposing pitchers. (The Stanford product has averaged 45 walks a season thus far in his minor league career atop the order.)

Fuld had even been summoned for a pair of Cactus League appearances early on in Spring Training with the major league team.

Looking ahead to the end of minor league camp, he had expected to join Double-A Tennessee at the time.

What about now?

"Now, the training staff has told me that I'll just go to a team that needs an outfielder," said Fuld.

That could still be Tennessee, whose outfield depth chart currently features Chris Walker, Jorge Cortes and Josh Kroeger by default. The outfield has also gotten select appearances early this season by catcher Jake Fox and Jemel Spearman, typically a mainstay in the infield throughout his career.

A possible return to Class-A Daytona also seems unlikely for Fuld since Cubs outfield prospect Ryan Harvey is expected to head back to the Florida State League for a second stint there once he recovers from a hamstring injury.

"It's nothing too serious, but it's something you have to rest and be cautious with," Fuld said of his oblique. "It's an injury that can linger and it's pretty important to everything you do. We're being pretty conservative with it."


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