The changes were announced this afternoon and the hard-working Sam Fuld was optioned to Triple-A Iowa (along with reliever Kevin Hart) to make room for the returning veterans.
Not many players make the type of impression Fuld made in less than a week at Wrigley Field. There's no simple explanation as to why he became such a quick fan favorite, but he certainly won over a ton of Cubbie faithful hearts in his time here. Luckily for them, it seems Fuld will be back on the North Side before too long.
Perhaps it's a matter of timing. Fuld seemed to be called up to Chicago just at the right time. With the Cubs offense looking listless and the team coming off a 2-9 stint, something was needed to spark Cubbie bats and inject a bit of youthful energy into a ho-hum clubhouse.
Fuld did exactly that.
In six games and 11 at bats, Fuld notched four hits, three runs, a pair of doubles and a pair of walks. He returns to Iowa with a .364 batting average and a .462 on-base percentage.
But the reasons Sam Fuld endeared himself to Cub fans on the North Side had less to do with what he did on the field and much more to do with those quirky intangibles that so define Cubdom.
Sam Fuld looks like a ballplayer. His speech is devoid of those clichés professional athletes tend to offer. He carries himself like a consummate professional both on and off the field. And in less than a week, the newlywed Exeter grad getting paid right around the league minimum outperformed a seven-time all-star with a $136 million contract.
"The Fuld and Hart decisions weren't easy," said Cubs general manager Jim Hendry before Monday's game. "We put a lot of thought into it last night."
Hendry didn't elaborate on what that thought process was, but in the end it came down to the fact that the Cubs already have a tenured resident scrappy fan-favorite outfielder in Reed Johnson, who returned to the lineup after being out with back pain.
"With Reed coming back," said Hendry, "Sam's playing time was going to be diminished."
Hendry said Fuld will be back in Chicago sometime this summer, and probably in the fall - which is a good thing. Being a fan favorite at Wrigley cannot be underestimated. It's the reason why Leon Durham isn't vilified in Chicago the way Bill Buckner was in Boston, even though the two made similar mistakes in critical playoff situations. And it's the reason why Mark DeRosa may become one of the first widely cheered Cardinals in Wrigley Field history.
And it's the reason why Cubdom should be plenty excited next time they see the headline "Sam Fuld recalled to Chicago."