Fowler hopes to be healthy for first All-Star Game

Cubs OF eligible to come off DL, but needs to test hamstring strain in rehab stint

Fowler hopes to be healthy for first All-Star Game

CHICAGO -- The Cubs' Dexter Fowler, who was leading all National League outfielders in the final release of voting totals on the 2016 Esurance MLB All-Star Game Ballot, wants to play in the 2016 All-Star Game presented by MasterCard, but he isn't sure if he'll be healthy by then.

Fowler has been on the disabled list since June 19 because of a right hamstring strain, and on Monday he did some running and picked up the intensity. Cubs manager Joe Maddon said Fowler will need to play in a couple of Minor League games before he is activated. Fowler was eligible to come off the DL on Monday.

"It's not impossible to think [he can return] by the end of this week," Maddon said. "It's a day-to-day thing. It's getting better. Obviously, he's motivated to play in the All-Star Game. I understand that. We'll just play out the rest of the week and see where it takes us."

Fowler's leadoff home run

Fowler, who has never been named to an All-Star Game, said he didn't want to put a timetable on his return.

"You don't want to get out there and re-injure it again," Fowler said. "You want to be cautious with it. It's definitely getting better. I haven't had any setbacks."

The Cubs have struggled without Fowler, going 4-10 since he's been sidelined.

"I'm kind of frustrated I can't be out there playing," Fowler said.

Maddon has tried Ben Zobrist, Jason Heyward and Chris Coghlan in the leadoff spot since Fowler was sidelined.

"'Zo' has done a great job in the one hole," Maddon said. "There's an argument to be made that [Zobrist and Fowler] are kind of equal. But then you don't have 'Zo' somewhere else in the lineup, and that's the issue. Either one of those two guys do a wonderful job. Like I said, when you're unable to use Zobrist in a different spot, that's where the impact has been felt."

Zobrist's leadoff home run

Is Fowler pushing for the All-Star Game?

"Hopefully," he said. "I don't know the future, I don't know what their plans are for me. It's getting better and that's all I ask for now. I'm definitely going to try."

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings. You can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat and listen to her podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.