Fukudome plunked, gets RBI in debut
Japanese outfielder chops run-scoring single, adds walk
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Cubs outfielder Kosuke Fukudome received a rather rude welcome to the Cactus League on Thursday. In his first at-bat in the first inning, he was hit on the right arm by the first pitch he saw from San Francisco's Noah Lowry."I couldn't get out of the way," Fukudome said through interpreter Ryuji Araki. "If that's the way it goes, that's the way it goes." In his second at-bat against right-hander Billy Sadler in the second, Fukudome walked. He added an RBI single in the third off Kevin Correia, which bounced over the third baseman and gave the Cubs a 7-1 lead, and was then lifted for a pinch-runner. "I love that chopper -- that's classic," Cubs shortstop Ryan Theriot said. "I've been waiting for it and expecting it. I'd like to think if I would hit left-handed, I would hit like that." "I saw that there was a lot of room on that side," Fukudome said, "so I was hoping the ball would go where I wanted to go, and it just happened to go where I wanted it to go." "He looks like he's a good hitter," Correia said. "He has the approach of the good Japanese hitters who come over here with good bat control." After the game, Fukudome was surrounded by about a dozen Japanese reporters. He is the 10th Japanese position player to come to the Major Leagues, but the first for the Cubs. "I'm very happy that everybody is watching back home in Japan," Fukudome said. The right fielder did not have a putout in the game. He has had to deal with non-Japanese outfielders while playing for the Chunichi Dragons, such as Alex Ochoa, so he learned early to say "I got it" in English. "I've heard him yell, and he sounds fine," Cubs outfielder Sam Fuld said.
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.