Fukudome gets vote of confidence as a starter

Chicago Tribune

Kosuke Fukudome may get a second chance to prove himself in the postseason, because Cubs Manager Lou Piniella said before Game 1 that he would like to start Fukudome in every game of the National League division series.

“I’d like to stay just the way we are,” Piniella said. “Fukudome is very capable of having a nice postseason, so let’s see. With the wind blowing and everything else, we went with good defense in the outfield.”

Fukudome started in right field and batted second Wednesday night but went 0 for 4 in the 7-2 loss to the Dodgers, which may cause Piniella to change his mind today.


“I’m not sure,” he said afterward. “Let’s wait until [today] and see.”

Fukudome started in right the first five months of the season before Piniella sent him to the bench in early September. He hit .207 after July 1, prompting Piniella to move Mark DeRosa to right and insert Mike Fontenot at second.

Though DeRosa’s sore left calf factored into Piniella’s decision to play him at second, in essence the Cubs are giving up Fontenot’s offense for Fukudome’s defense in right.

“You know, this is basically a lineup that has played a lot this summer and helped us get here,” Piniella said.

DeRosa’s calf also led to the inclusion of Felix Pie on the postseason roster instead of Micah Hoffpauir. Pie hit .300 in September but played sparingly.

“We talked about it long and hard,” Piniella said. “It came down to the versatility of Pie. I wasn’t going to use Hoffpauir in the postseason in the outfield.

“I have Derrek Lee at first, so we decided to go for the versatility, the defense, the speed. And since Pie has come back [from the minors], he has swung the bat a little better. Those were the determining factors.”


A Cubbie occurrence?

Though Piniella was the one who coined the term “Cubbie occurrence,” he didn’t know it would become part of the lexicon of Cubs fans.

“I don’t really believe in that,” he said. “I kid around with our media about that from time to time, but I don’t . . . you have to play on the field.”

Playoff numbers

Piniella fell to 3-9 against Joe Torre in postseason matchups. His Seattle teams lost 4-2 to the Yankees in the 2000 American League Championship Series and 4-1 to the Yankees in the 2001 ALCS.