Cubs outfielders prepare for Wrigley
Fukudome set for first taste of wind, ivy, fans in chilly Chicago
MESA, Ariz. -- The Cubs will definitely miss Arizona when they get to Wrigley Field. The weather forecast for Opening Day in Chicago on Monday won't be anything like it has been in the desert.
"I have to do something to not feel the cold," Cubs left fielder Alfonso Soriano said Thursday. "When I'm batting at home plate, I don't feel it, and maybe that's because I'm concentrating on the pitcher."
The Cubs will work out on Sunday at Wrigley before the season opener against the Brewers, and it'll give Kosuke Fukudome his first chance to run on the field and see what the outfield is like.
"I'm looking forward to it," Fukudome said Thursday through interpreter Ryuji Araki, "but I've heard it will be very cold. A couple friends in Chicago told me it's pretty cold."
At HoHoKam Park on Thursday, it was sunny and 77 degrees. In Chicago, it was 33 degrees with a wind chill that made it feel like 27. Maybe that will help the Cubs get going, mentally.
"It's time to go," Soriano said. "Now, it's for real. We're ready now to play some real games."
Soriano said fans shouldn't judge the Cubs by what they've done in Spring Training.
"I know we have very good players," he said, "but it's Spring Training and a lot of people aren't concentrating 100 percent. They know these games don't count. When the season starts, people will see more from this team. I think we have a very good team. On March 31, I think you'll see more because those games count."
Cubs manager Lou Piniella has been encouraged by what he's seen of Felix Pie, who will open the season in center field.
"The last week or so is the best stretch of baseball I've seen by Pie," Piniella said. "He's playing with confidence, he's having fun, he's being aggressive, he's gotten good jumps on stolen bases, playing the outfield well and he's swinging the bat."
That's all good. But Cubs outfielders also have to deal with other things at Wrigley besides the wind and the ivy. There are the fans. When Sammy Sosa ran out to right field for the Cubs, he waved to the fans in the bleachers. What will Fukudome do?
"For sure, they'll want to do something with him," Soriano said.
"I'm not thinking about doing anything," Fukudome said. "I don't think I'm going to fall down on the way to right field."
Carrie Muskat is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.