Last month the Cubs fired hitting coach Gerald Perry one season after he presided over the league's highest-scoring offense, so having run out of ideas for how to get Kosuke Fukudome on track now that he's faded following a great start for the second straight season they've turned to his old hitting coach from Japan for help:
Kyosuke Sasaki will join the team in Philadelphia on Monday. Sasaki will work with Fukudome for a week or so, hoping to get the same kind of success he saw with the Chunichi Dragons, where Fukudome won a pair of batting titles. "He's going to be on the field and in uniform with us for a few days and let him observe," manager Lou Piniella said. "If need be, he can work with Fukudome all he wants."
Last year Fukudome hit .327/.436/.480 in April compared to .241/.340/.355 from May 1 on and this year he batted .338/.461/.592 in April only to hit .235/.346/.385 since, but it's worth noting that he's at .288/.377/.577 with nine extra-base hits in 15 games this month. Meanwhile, Piniella has bypassed new hitting coach Von Joshua and plans to personally tutor Milton Bradley:
Piniella plans to take a turn soon at trying to solve Milton Bradley's season-long hitting slump from the left side of the plate that neither Bradley nor two hitting coaches have cracked. "I had a nice talk with Bradley," Piniella said. "I'm going to work with him personally for a while and see if we can get him going." ...
Joshua has worked with Bradley on getting his top half in sync with his bottom half in his left-handed stance and swing. "We're going to try to simplify things a little bit," Piniella said. "We're going to get him a little shorter path to the ball, increase a little bat speed. And we can do that with a couple of adjustments, I feel. We'll start [today]. And when he's ready, we'll get him out there."
Now that Sasaki "can work with Fukudome all he wants" and Piniella is taking care of Bradley, Joshua is left with just 10 hitters to work with. Or maybe 11 if you decide to count either Andres Blanco or Carlos Zambrano as hitters. Not a bad gig.