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Fuld back with Twins as Hicks heads to DL

DETROIT -- Minnesota outfielder Sam Fuld assures he will be the exact same player he was before his first diagnosed concussion now that he has rejoined the club.

Fuld was on a rehab assignment with Double-A New Britain and fills the roster spot vacated by catcher Josmil Pinto, who was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on Wednesday.

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"I feel great," Fuld said before Friday's game, though he wasn't in the lineup. "It's good to get back out there and test myself. It's been a while now since I've had any symptoms. I'm back to normal and I feel like a new man."

The reason Fuld was held out of the lineup, manager Ron Gardenhire said, wasn't any added precautions, but the fact that Tigers starter Drew Smyly entered Friday holding left-handed batters to an average of .138 this season.

"Tonight's not a good night for lefties at all," Gardenhire said.

Fuld said his primary goal through his rehabilitation, during which he went 6-for-14 with two doubles and a homer, was to return with no reservations about the way he plays. He added that he wasn't tested in New Britain by any fly balls to the wall, like the one that caused his concussion on a collision with the Target Field outfield wall last month.

"If it happens again, I'll be better prepared mentally," Fuld said of the injury. "It was a difficult injury to deal with. It was a unique injury."

Meanwhile, the club called catcher Eric Fryer up from Rochester to function as Kurt Suzuki's backup. Also, Aaron Hicks was placed on the disabled list Friday, retroactive to Tuesday.

Fryer, who played in six games for the big league club last season, said he'll rely on Suzuki and bench coach Terry Steinbach, a former catcher, to get him up to speed on the tendencies of the Minnesota pitching staff.

"I'm definitely going to lean on those guys quite a bit," Fryer said.

Hicks had not played since Monday. He injured his shoulder while making a game-ending diving catch in center field on Saturday against the Astros, and he said earlier this week that he was still having trouble throwing the ball.

Matt Slovin is an associate reporter for

Minnesota Twins, Eric Fryer, Sam Fuld, Aaron Hicks, Josmil Pinto