SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — He looked a lot like Kosuke Fukudome and wore the same uniform number.
But the Kosuke Fukudome who showed up at HoHoKam Park on Thursday didn’t sound at all like the Japanese star who fizzled in the second half of his debut season in Chicago.
Appearing relaxed and confident after missing the first six weeks of camp while playing for Japan in the World Baseball Classic, Fukudome was at times self-deprecating, boastful and a bit introspective.
What caused him to have so much trouble adjusting in the second half?
“My stupidity,” he said, through his new interpreter.
Fukudome then laughed, something he rarely did in public last summer.
He said he had learned from last year’s struggles and worked out all winter to be in better shape for the long season.
“If I can be the player that Lou [Piniella] wants me to be, I should be playing a lot better,” he said.
Only one Japanese reporter was on hand for Fukudome’s arrival, in stark contrast to last year’s hoopla. ~ Chicago Tribune
Are you buying or selling this? Is Fukudome going to be the player we paid for? I’m buying. I really believe being a player from another country is a big adjustment for a player. Think about that time you took a new job or filled in somewhere. It’s a tough adjustment. You’re learning new things and couple that with the fact that he had a language barrier and a wife and new child overseas. That’s a tough season. This is the year we see the player we paid for.