2/16 Fujikawa: Tanaka can handle NY

Kyuji Fujikawa is throwing this spring, and could be able to pitch in the big leagues by June. But he wasn’t able to recruit Masahiro Tanaka to sign with the Cubs. Fujikawa and Tanaka were teammates three times in the World Baseball Classic. After 12 seasons in Japan, Fujikawa left to sign a two-year contract with the Cubs in December 2012. But his 2013 season ended after 12 games because of elbow problems, and he eventually underwent Tommy John surgery last June.

All winter, Cubs fans were giddy over the possibility of the team adding Tanaka, a 25-year-old free agent, who eventually agreed to a seven-year, $155 million deal with the Yankees. Whether Fujikawa talked to Tanaka is unclear.

“I can’t really say much,” Fujikawa said Saturday. “It’s not for me to comment.”

Fujikawa says he didn’t talk to any Japanese players before signing with the Cubs. He could’ve asked Kosuke Fukudome about what it was like at Wrigley Field. Instead, the right-hander shifted the focus back to his rehab.

“I can’t really say anything about Tanaka, but for myself, I just want to say last year wasn’t my real self, and I’m trying to think about myself,” Fujikawa said through interpreter Ryo Shinkawa. “I can only talk about myself.”

Right now, Fujikawa is playing catch five, six times a week, alternating between a long toss day and a light toss day. He has yet to throw off a mound but is close.

“It was definitely tough while the season was going on and you have to understand you can’t be able to contribute, that was the tough part,” he said.

Fujikawa knows Cubs fans were interested in having the team acquire Tanaka.

“It’s a good thing that everybody was talking about him,” he said. “He has a strong heart, so he shouldn’t have a problem in New York. He’s used to it.”

– Carrie Muskat

4 Comments

Wow! Fujikawa thinks his former teammate will ok in NY. Roll the presses. What a scoop. One of the classiest players to ever play the game, Derek Jeter can tell Tanaka how it’s done. But to servive in NY as a Yankee, you have to produce. Tanaka can ask A-Rod about that. All the cash in the world won’t save you if you don’t put up positive numbers. Regardless of what friends or detractors think you can do. The Yankee organization doesn’t tolerate losing in any shape, manner or form. Not like some other organizations I can think of.

Dempster stated he would not pitch this year, he did not announce retirement, just that he would not pitch this year.
Dempster traded in July of 2012 for Kyle Hendricks and Christian Villanueva, lasted just and year and a half with the Rangers and Red Sox.
Villanueva is the projected starting 3rd baseman and Hendricks will be in the rotation at Iowa in 2014.
No one knows if Dempster would have produced for the Cubs the last 1.5 years. However this trade looks AWESOME right now.

Aloha Jasper- Good points. As much as I was sad to see Dempster go, because of his leadership role (mentoring) and how one should conduct themselves on and off the field, this seems to be a trade that was done with some discernment and how it could help the organization. Now, I wish for the upcoming season, that “Tanaka” stories would not surface here anymore. As I have said in the past, I wish him well and success and I think the Cubs did the right thing by not overspending on one player as this organization is being re-worked from the bottom to the top. Let’s talk about what the Cubs are doing. Mahalo!

K.g. I could not agree more.

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