When the Rays acquired Sam Fuld as part of the trade for Matt Garza, he was essentially a throw in. At best, he was considered a fourth outfielder, someone who could steal a few bases and play all over the outfield. A nice bench player, but no one that should be starting.
Then the 2011 season happened. Fuld opened the season on fire, stealing bases, getting clutch hits and making amazing catches seemingly every day. He became a phenomenon unto himself, spawning the Twitter account LegendofSamFuld and a series of Chuck Norris style facts. He became so huge that even manager Joe Maddon got in on it, stating that Superman went to bed in Sam Fuld pajamas.
Unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and Fuld regressed back to the player he had always been. While the still excited with his defense and his speed, his hitting began to lag before he was injured for the season in August. At the time he was injured, Fuld was only hitting at a .240/.313/.360 rate, stealing 20 bases in 28 attempts. In the first extended action of his major league career, Fuld looked to be exactly what he was projected as – a fourth or fifth outfielder.
But now, the Rays may need Fuld as much as they needed him in 2011. With Desmond Jennings on the disabled list, Fuld may get more playing time than he had since his first year with Tampa. Already, he has displayed a bit of his old magic, with a pinch hit two run single in the seventh on Wednesday, as he batted for Wil Myers.
Does Sam Fuld have any more magic left? Can Fuld, for at least a couple of weeks, get back to the player he was over the first month or so for the Rays? The Rays are certainly going to find out.