Fuld close, but cautious with hamstring issue

Fuld close, but cautious with hamstring issue

BOSTON -- A week-and-a-half after straining his right hamstring, Sam Fuld's near 100 percent, but still has a little ways to go.

The Rays outfielder said he was strong enough to be used as a pinch-hitter Wednesday against the Red Sox at Fenway Park, and manager Joe Maddon got the green light from the training staff as well.

"He can easily do that," Maddon said. "I was talking to [head trainer Ron Porterfield] and Ronnie thought that he could, so if he tells me that he can and he's available, that's good."

Fuld was hurt on Sept. 16 in a 6-4 loss to the Yankees at New York. He wasn't having a great September, hitting .167.

Fuld did some work on the field Tuesday afternoon to test himself out.

"I just ran the bases, took some swings on the field, and wanted to get the feel of swinging and then getting right out of the box, just to try to simulate that game action," he said. "It all went well, I wasn't quite going 100 percent, but pretty close to it and it felt really good.

"Hopefully in the next day or two, get some work in the outfield, and depending on how that goes, might feel ready to do everything, run, play the outfield and hit. "

If Fuld does pinch-hit, he plans to avoid running so hard that he reaggravates the injury -- even though that's counterintuitive.

"From all I've heard about hamstrings, when you really push, that's when your prone to re-aggravating it," Fuld said. "That's going to be the hardest part, is toning down your instincts and not letting the adrenaline of the game get a hold of you ... It's going to be tough."