4/7 Extra bases

* Alfonso Soriano talked to Carlos Marmol after the right-hander struggled on Opening Day.

“I told him, ‘Don’t lose your confidence,'” Soriano said. “It’s a long season and he has to keep working and that’s the only way you can get better is to keep working and
not lose your confidence because when you lose your confidence, everything goes negative. I tried to give him some motivation because he’s part of the team. We need him. He’ll be all right, he’ll be OK.”

* On Sunday, Dale Sveum said Kyuji Fujikawa will be the Cubs closer. The Japanese right-hander says he’s ready for whenever the Cubs need him.

“My job is to pitch whenever I’m asked,” Fujikawa said through interpreter Ryo Shinkawa. “I didn’t have a good outing [Saturday]. I’m going to try to go back out there, and it’s a long season, I’m trying to make it as positive as possible.”

He was a closer for Hanshin for 12 years. Did he ever lose his job the way Marmol has?

“No,” Fujikawa said.

* Second baseman Darwin Barney hopes to have the stitches removed from his left knee on Monday. Barney suffered a knee laceration in the final exhibition game March 30 in Houston and is on the disabled list. He has been able to take batting practice and was going to ride a stationary bike on Sunday.

“He’s able to bend his knee all the way now,” Cubs manager Dale Sveum said. “He’s been hitting and taking ground balls straight at him. He’ll be ready to go, just guessing five days from now, and be back with us after the off day [April 15].”

Barney was expected to get some at-bats at Class A Kane County this week.

* Ian Stewart, on the disabled list with a strained left quad, went 1-for-4 on Saturday in Mesa during an extended Spring Training game. He was the designated hitter, and had no setbacks, Sveum said. After an off day Sunday, Stewart was expected to get another four to six at-bats on Monday in Mesa. He could begin a rehab assignment in one week.

* Matt Garza, sidelined with a strained left lat, threw his second bullpen on Sunday. He was not expected to return until May.

— Carrie Muskat

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