Originally published April 16, 2011 at 3:44 PM | Page modified April 16, 2011 at 8:03 PM

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Legend of Sam Fuld growing quickly | Larry Stone notebook

Of the five players acquired from the Cubs by Tampa Bay for Matt Garza, the one paying the most early dividends has been lightly regarded outfielder Sam Fuld.

Seattle Times staff reporter

When the Tampa Bay Rays sent 15-game winner Matt Garza to the Cubs in January, the key pieces coming back were prospects Chris Archer, Robinson Chirinos and Hak-Ju Lee.

But of the five players acquired from the Cubs by Tampa Bay, the one paying the most early dividends has been lightly regarded outfielder Sam Fuld.

Fuld, who entered the weekend hitting .324 with seven steals — along with a sensational diving catch on the warning track that could stand as the defensive highlight of the entire season — is an interesting dude.

He's diabetic, and one of the few Jewish players in the majors. His father, Kenneth, is dean of the liberal arts college at the University of New Hampshire. His mom, Amanda Merrill, is a New Hampshire state senator.

As for Sam himself — who interned at Stats Inc. one offseason — he's fast becoming a legend in Tampa Bay.

Given extended playing time by the departure of Manny Ramirez, Fuld caught the public's fancy enough for there to be more than 1,000 posts on Twitter last Tuesday with the hashtag #legendofsamfuld.

Marc Topkin of the St. Petersburg Times compiled some of the wittiest, in the vein of Chuck Norris jokes:

• USF is changing it name to Univ. Of Sam Fuld

• Team officials have renamed the stadium Tropicana Fuld

• Sam Fuld is bored by The Most Interesting Man In The World

• Superman wears Sam Fuld pajamas

• Sam Fuld has only been thrown out at home once, by Sam Fuld.


• Sam Fuld just divided by zero!!!!!

Fuld got into the spirit. When Wednesday's game in Boston was rained out, reporters asked Fuld why he couldn't stop the rain. He replied, jokingly, "This is me washing my planet."

Wimmers goes wild

The Twins suddenly have concerns about Alex Wimmers, their first-round draft pick (No. 21 overall) last year out of Ohio State.

Wimmers has been removed from the starting rotation at Class A Fort Myers after a disastrous first outing on Monday that brings to mind the dark days of Rick Ankiel.

Wimmers threw 28 pitches, and only four were strikes. He walked all six batters he faced and threw three wild pitches. The Minneapolis Star-Tribune cited eyewitness accounts that Wimmers threw four pitches that hit the backstop on the fly.

It was a mysterious blowup by Wimmers, who was known for good control at Ohio State. He signed last year for a $1.33 million bonus and went 2-0 with a 0.57 earned-run average in four starts with Fort Myers last season. In 15-2/3 innings, he struck out 23 and walked just five.

"Wimmers had a tough outing," Jim Rantz, the Twins' director of minor leagues, told the Star-Tribune. "We have decided to take him out of the rotation and work with him on the side on a few things. We'll see if we can get him going."

Wimmers was placed on the seven-day disabled list because of flu-like symptoms.

Notes and quotes

• One more Sam Fuld note via Topkin. The Rays had planned to hold a Manny Ramirez bobblehead promotion on May 29. Instead, they'll give out Sam Fuld Superhero Capes. Honest.

• According to the Elias Bureau, the Indians are the first team in American League history to lose their first two games of the season, then win eight in a row. The 1972 Astros lost their first two, then won nine in a row in the NL. Cleveland's streak left it in sole possession of first place in the AL Central for the first time since May 16, 2008.

• Good for ex-Mariner Chris Jakubauskas, who returned to the majors Saturday with Baltimore, his first appearance since April 24, 2010, with Pittsburgh.

That was his first start with the Pirates, and he lasted just 12 pitches before being struck in the head with a line drive. Jakubauskas was sidelined for the rest of the season.

Facing the Rangers in his comeback, Jakubauskas gave up five runs in three innings, but Orioles manager Buck Showalter realized how far Jakubauskas had come.

"If you don't take in a moment like that, you're not watching as a coach or a manager or a teammate," Showalter said. "I'm sure some of the guys may not be completely aware of what's going on and the long haul it took for him to get there."