Cubs' Dexter Fowler viable to return, play in All-Star Game

CHICAGO -- Dexter Fowler, sidelined since June 19 with a strained right hamstring, won't play in a game for the Chicago Cubs until after next week's All-Star break, but there's still a chance he'll play in the All-Star Game on Tuesday.

Fowler, who was voted a National League starter in fan balloting, is slated to begin a rehab assignment on Friday with Class A South. He will be the designated hitter on Friday and will then play the field on Saturday.

"If he's well after that, then he can be activated to play in the All-Star Game," manager Joe Maddon said Thursday before the Cubs hosted the Atlanta Braves.

Fowler, 30, wants to play in the game because it's his first All-Star appearance.

"It's reality," he said. "I think my health is more important. It's a long season. You don't want it to occur again. You want to be smart about it."

Not everyone in the organization, though, is comfortable with the idea of Fowler playing in an exhibition game before he plays for the Cubs -- especially with the tricky nature of hamstring injuries.

"He just has to be honest with us," Maddon said. "If he's feeling really well, I have no problem with it. If there's any concern ...

"This is one of those things you could become overly cautious with. Our primary objective is to make sure he's ready to play the rest of the season to take us to the promised land. But the opportunity to play in an All-Star Game for a guy like him is pretty grand, and you don't want to get in the way of that if he can play."

Fowler is batting .290 with seven home runs and 28 RBIs in 64 games.
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