Dexter Fowler chooses Cubs season over first All-Star Game appearance

Dexter Fowler chooses Cubs season over first All-Star Game appearance

SAN DIEGO — Dexter Fowler said he had the big picture in mind when he opted not to play in Tuesday’s All-Star Game.

A first-time selection, the Cubs outfielder said Monday he didn’t want to risk re-aggravating his hamstring injury. On the disabled list since June 19, Fowler would have had to have been activated after Sunday’s first-half finale to be eligible for Tuesday’s exhibition at Petco Park.

Fowler plans to attend Thursday’s workout with the Cubs and run the bases. He’s unsure if he’d be activated for Friday’s series-opener against the Rangers but expects to return soon.

“Say I went out there 80 percent and there’s a ball in the gap and I’m running for it and the ball drops, I feel like I let my team down,” Fowler said. “I felt like I was being selfish. It’s a long season, and I want to be back and not have anything to worry about.

“Better safe than sorry. On Friday I might be able to play, you never know. But that unknown right there was a lot for me just to play one game.”

Fowler said he hasn’t had any set backs. He also continues to make progress and wants to get back and help the Cubs, who have struggled recently.

“I think I’m more anxious than everybody,” Fowler said. “Watch the games on TV and I’ve got that itch.”

Even though he won’t play in the All-Star Game, Fowler is on hand for the experience. He and the rest of his Cubs teammates arrived in San Diego on Sunday night. After a tough, slow offseason full of uncertainty, Fowler feels pretty good to have been selected for the Midsummer Classic.

“It’s great,” Fowler said. “Just how frustrating the offseason was and to come back and represent your team here, it was just something to prove and a milestone I got here and I’m eager to get back.”

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

Summer of Sammy: Sosa's 30th homer in 1998

It's the 20th anniversary of the Summer of Sammy, when Sosa and Mark McGwire went toe-to-toe in one of the most exciting seasons in American sports history chasing after Roger Maris' home run record. All year, we're going to go homer-by-homer on Sosa's 66 longballs, with highlights and info about each. Enjoy.

Sosa hit the 30-homer threshold on June 21, 1998 in only his 71st game of the season. For perspective, the 2018 Cubs leader in homers on June 21 is Javy Baez with 14 and Mike Trout leads all of baseball with only 23.

At this point, Mark McGwire was ahead of Sosa, but the Cubs slugger was pulling closer. McGwire had 33 dingers on June 21 while Ken Griffey Jr. had 28 and Greg Vaughn had 25.

Sosa' June 21 homer came off Tyler Green and was his 5th blast of the series against the Philadelphia Phillies at Wrigley Field that year. But the Cubs lost that series, despite Sosa's efforts.

Fun fact: Sosa drove in 10 runs in the three-game series with the Phillies that summer while the rest of his teammates combined for only 9 RBI.

Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of


Podcast: Wild week at Wrigley wraps up with Cubs showing what they’re made of

The Cubs have been a different team the last six weeks, looking a lot more like the resilient bunch from 2016 than the sluggish 2017 squad that lacked energy. After some wacky circumstances Monday and a tough loss in Game 1 of Tuesday’s doubleheader, the Cubs came out and showed what they’re made of in the last two games of the series against the Dodgers, a team that knocked them out of postseason play last fall.

Kelly Crull and Tony Andracki sum up the longest short homestand (or shortest long homestand?), updating the status of Yu Darvish, Brandon Morrow, the Cubs pitching staff and how the team is rounding into form as the season’s halfway mark approaches.

Check out the entire podcast here: