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Optics illusion: No All-Star return from DL for Fowler, after all

The Cubs are just 6-15 since Dexter Fowler went on the DL with a hamstring injury. (AP Photo/Michael Thomas)

PITTSBURGH – After batting four times as the DH in a minor-league rehab game Friday, center fielder Dexter Fowler pulled the plug on his effort to fast-track his return from the disabled list in time to play in Tuesday’s All-Star game.

The Cubs say their leadoff hitter suffered no setback with his hamstring, and that he’ll be re-evaluated after the break, then likely start another rehab assignment.

“He didn’t feel anything other than the fact he knew he could not push it,” said manager Joe Maddon, who added Fowler was sent to Class A South Bench with instructions to back off if he had any question.

“That’s good because it definitely helps his mind out. He knows exactly where he’s at,” Maddon said. “He made an attempt. He’ll go to the [All-Star] game as an All-star but not be able to play.”

The potentially bad optics of Fowler rushing back to be eligible for his first All-Star Game before returning for his struggling team played no role in the decision, Maddon said.

“It would not have bothered me at all if he was well,” Maddon said, “because that would have accelerated him coming back to us on the other side, I thought, and he’d be ready to play by Friday [when the Cubs resume play after the break].

“It’s awkward only based on the timing of the whole thing,” Maddon added. “But for me if in fact he was well and he could have played in that game and then played for us on Friday, I would have taken that.”

Instead, Fowler appears likely to need at least that weekend series for another rehab assignment before returning.

The Cubs are 6-15 since he went on the DL.