2/9 Fujikawa ready to go
Kyuji Fujikawa is new to the Cubs but after just a few days, he realizes he’s in the right spot in the Fitch Park clubhouse, lockered between second baseman Darwin Barney and outfielder David DeJesus.
“Nice guys,” the Japanese pitcher said in English.
On Sunday, Fujikawa will have his fourth bullpen session since arriving in Arizona one week ago. More than half of the 62 players expected in the Cubs Spring Training camp have already been working out at Fitch, including Fujikawa, the former Hanshin Tigers closer who signed a two-year contract with Chicago in December.
“I’m ready,” he said, again in English.
He’s the Cubs’ second Japanese player, following outfielder Kosuke Fukudome, who was with the team from 2008-11. The two didn’t talk about making the transition to the U.S. Major Leagues nor about Wrigley Field. Fujikawa did ask some other Japanese players for advice.
“They all pointed out that it’s important to be your own self and not change too much,” he said, through interpreter Ryo Shinkawa.
Could he take over as closer? Carlos Marmol was expected in Arizona on Sunday. He was in court on Friday to deal with domestic abuse charges filed by a woman in the Dominican Republic. Fujikawa said he wasn’t aware of Marmol’s legal issues and said he wasn’t thinking about taking over as the Cubs closer at some point.
“The decision is not up to me but the coaches,” Fujikawa said. “My job is to get outs and as I do that, I’ll try to make it a tougher decision for the coaches to make.”
— Carrie Muskat