Sam Fuld the Unlikely Choice as AL East’s Best Left Fielder Early On

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Our weekly look at each of the Red Sox' opponents in the AL East surveys the Tampa Bay Rays, the one team getting consistent production from its left fielder, only not the one from whom they expected it.

There was no shortage of observers who tabbed Manny Ramirez as a prime candidate for Comeback Player of the Year, and gave the Rays kudos for bringing in the aging slugger on a cheap deal.

When Ramirez abruptly retired in the face of a 100-game suspension, manager Joe Maddon had no choice but to hand the keys to Sam Fuld, one of the chips in the Matt Garza trade this winter.

Fuld has become a phenomenon. Even after an 0-for-4 on Sunday, he was hitting .346. He flirted with a cycle in Fenway Park earlier this month, had a 4-for-4 effort one week later, was 3-for-5 with three runs scored on Friday and leads the league with 10 stolen bases.

Because of Fuld's performance, Tampa Bay entered Sunday with just two fewer RBIs and eight fewer hits from its left fielders than the rest of the division combined.

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