In the Cubs 9-4 win over the White Sox on Friday, Kosuke Fukodome made his 1st spring start for the Cubs. Fukodome played center field and batted 2nd in the lineup behind Alfonso Soriano. Fukodome had 1 hit in 4 at-batsand scored a run in the Cubs 7-run 1st inning.
A nice start for Fukodome, but the Cubs are going to need to see more if Fukodome expects to get consistent playing time in 2009. Cubs Manager Lou Pinella had this to say about Fukodome: “We have to get him some at-bats. He has to catch up here.”
As for Fukodome, he says he feels more “normal” being back in the states with his Cubs teammates. “It’s a lot easier than what I felt last year, so it will be better this year for sure. As long as it’s not icy and snowy, it’ll be fine.”
Sounds good to us Kosuke. As we have said before, Fukodome is a kind of “X Factor” for the Cubs in 2009. Fukodome will split time with right-handed hitting Reed Johnson in center field. If Fukodome can hit consistently at the major league level this season, that will give the Cubs an added weapon for the post-season. Having 2 quality left-handed bats for the post-season (Fukodome and newly-acquired Milton Bradley) will give other playoff teams a new obstacle to deal with in October. Let’s hope we can see a more patient, more consistent Fukodome for the whole 2009 season and not just for stretches. Good luck, Kosuke!!!