7/26 Rising star
Japanese hitting coach Kyosuke Sasaki headed home on Sunday, but his visit seemed to pay off. Sasaki was with the Cubs for one week to work with his star pupil, Kosuke Fukudome, and the outfielder now has an eight-game hitting streak. Fukudome entered Sunday’s game batting .414 during the streak.
“He gave Fukudome a little bit of a front knee turn,” Lou Piniella said. “It keeps him in [the batter’s box] much better. He stays on top of the ball better. He hits the ball to left field, which I think is very important for him and keeps him from spinning.”
The spinning usually resulted in strikeouts. Sasaki, who was Fukudome’s hitting coach with the Chunichi Dragons, will be back in September.
“We’re very thankful and appreciative as a staff and organization,” Piniella said of Sasaki’s visit. “[Fukudome] has gotten his average up there around the .270 mark and hopefully it keeps rising.”
— Carrie Muskat