JEWISH BASEBALL NEWS — Only one player in Tampa Bay Rays history, B.J. Upton, has hit for the cycle in a single game. On Monday (4/11/2011), outfielder Sam Fuld gave up a chance at becoming the second such player to do something even greater.

Fuld, 29, had already hit a double, triple, and 3-run home run when he came to at in the 9th inning of Tampa Bay’s 16-5 win over the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. He needed only a single to complete the so-called cycle. But when he lined a pitch into left field, he resisted any temptation to stop at first base and instead stretched the hit into a double.

Here is what Fuld (and Rays manager Joe Maddon) told the St. Petersburg Times about his decision not to stop at first base:

“You can’t do that,” Fuld said. And I don’t get too many extra-base hits, so I’m going to take them when I can. It was a sure double, so there was no choice but to get your double there.” (Joe) Maddon said it was a sign of Fuld’s integrity. “I know a lot of guys who would have stopped,” Maddon said. “It just indicates what he’s all about right there.”

Acquired from the Chicago Cubs in an off-season trade, Fuld spent most of his six years in that franchise laboring in the minors. Making the Rays’ opening-day roster was a first for him.

Monday’s game was a breakout in more ways than one for Fuld. Known primarily for his excellent arm and daredevil fielding — a catch he made Saturday (4/9/2011) against the Chicago White Sox has been called the play of the year — the Stanford University alum has historically been a light hitter with above-average plate discipline and excellent baserunning skills. Monday’s home run was just his second in 159 major-league at-bats.

So far in 2011, Fuld is batting .321 with 3 RBIs, 3 walks, a league-leading 5 stolen bases, and an OPS (slugging percentage plus on-base percentage) of 1.030.

Fuld didn’t let his bat do all the talking Monday. He also made this concussion-risking catch to rob Red Sox 2B Dustin Pedroia of an RBI hit.

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