PORT CHARLOTTE — Rays OF Sam Fuld will have surgery on his right wrist today and is expected to be out 4-5 months but plans to return by late summer.
Fuld said the procedure, done at the Cleveland Clinic, will be to repair the ligament, or sheath, that stabilizes a tendon.
"I was definitely expecting to have to operate," Fuld said. "I'm confident I'll be back and ready to contribute by the latter part of the summer."
Fuld's wrist has bothered him since he sprained it in a game in September. He then re-aggravated the wrist on a swing-and-miss in a game March 23. An MRI exam last week revealed the sheath surrounding the tendon is stretched, which permits the ligament to slide out of place. Fuld then sought a second opinion in Cleveland by Dr. Tom Graham.
Manager Joe Maddon felt for Fuld because he was in line for a more secure role with the Rays, his second year on the team.
"It's unfortunate because he fits so well," Maddon said. "But it's not the end; he'll be back. A bigger and better version of Sam Fuld coming back, if that's possible."
UPTON UPDATE: CF B.J. Upton said he is making good progress in his recovery from back soreness and is targeting a return during the April 10-19 road trip to Detroit, Boston and Toronto.
"That's what we're shooting for," Upton said Monday.
Though Maddon is encouraged, he's unsure on the timetable, saying they haven't even scheduled the specifics of a rehab assignment yet. Upton said he ran and threw Sunday and felt good Monday, a change from earlier in his recovery when he would be sore the next day.
"That's a good sign," he said.
Upton planned to hit in the cage Monday and continue to accelerate his workouts. However, he has played only part of one minor-league game since being hurt in the March 14 collision with Desmond Jennings, and the Rays are going to want him to get at-bats and see live pitching before he can return.
Upton said he will move with the team back to St. Petersburg on Tuesday and go on the road trip, hoping to make a few minor-league rehab appearances then rejoin the lineup.
"Until we really wind him up and let him go and see how he feels under game circumstances, I don't think we can really put a definite time frame on that," Maddon said.
PRICE CHECK: LHP David Price appeared in regular-season form in Monday's final spring start, a very sharp four-inning outing in which he allowed just one hit and struck out six.
"I felt like I continued to get better throughout spring; I feel good right now," Price said. "I'm ready for Saturday."
Price was especially happy with his slider, saying it's "the best it's been," and hopes to regain the confidence and sharpness he had in the pitch in 2008. "It's getting there," he said. Said Maddon: "I thought David had a really good day."
MEDICAL MATTERS: RHP Fernando Rodney said his previously bruised right forearm felt good after Sunday's bullpen session, and he plans to pitch today against the Twins. He also expects to be ready for opening day. Rodney was hit by a line drive Wednesday. RHP Jeff Niemann said the blister on his right middle finger is "getting a lot better," but he will throw Wednesday with a bandage, which is not allowed in the regular season.
GAME DETAILS: Cody Rogers hit a two-out, two-run homer in the ninth to lift the Rays to a 6-6 tie with the Twins. 3B Evan Longoria had another good day, with two hits, a run and an RBI. DH Luke Scott, in the second spot in the order, hit an opposite-field double. INF Sean Rodriguez had two hits, a solo homer and bunt single. Maddon said LHP J.P. Howell was "tremendous" in a scoreless inning.
Joe Smith can be reached at email@example.com.