Cubs' Dexter Fowler 'anxious' to return from hamstring injury

SAN DIEGO -- Chicago Cubs leadoff man and center fielder Dexter Fowler said he still isn't sure if he'll be ready for the start of the second half after deciding to skip the All-Star Game.

Fowler has been out of the Cubs' lineup since June 18 with a hamstring strain, though he insists it's not a serious injury. Preferring to play it cautious, he chose not to play in Tuesday's game despite making the trip to San Diego to be with his six Cubs teammates.

"I weighed my options," Fowler said. "The fact that they would have to activate me and then I would have to play on Friday was the unknown. I'd be selfish to run out there for one game and then not know if I could play on Friday."

In other words, Fowler didn't want to take up a roster spot on the Cubs just to play in the All-Star Game. If he's not ready by Friday, then the team would have to play shorthanded or place him back on the disabled list for another 15 days. Fowler chose the safer route.

"I'm anxious," Fowler said. "I think I'm more anxious than anyone. I got that itch. I want to play."

The Cubs are 7-15 without Fowler after he injured his right hamstring running to first base against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

"I'm progressing well," he said. "No setbacks."

Fowler will get checked out Thursday when the Cubs hold a workout before starting the second half against the Texas Rangers. If he isn't ready to be activated, he'll likely head back to the minors for another rehab stint. Fowler played one game for Single-A South Bend this past Friday before pulling out of the All-Star Game.

"It would have been awesome," Fowler said. "Hopefully next year I'll have the same opportunity."

Fowler is arguably the Cubs' first-half MVP, posting a .398 on-base percentage.