After agreeing to terms with Japanese right-hander Kyuji Fujikawa on a two-year, $9.5 million contract over the weekend, the Cubs plan to introduce him to the media tomorrow morning at Wrigley Field.
Fujikawa, 32, will receive a $1 million signing bonus and salaries of $4 million for 2013 and 2014. His contract includes a vesting option for a third year at $5.5 million that can increase to $6 million based on games finished.
Mostly relying on a fastball/splitter combo, Fujikawa had a 1.77 ERA and 220 saves over 12 seasons with the Hanshin Tigers. While he was a dominant closer during his time in Japan, he currently projects to open 2013 as a set-up man. Of course, that could change if the Cubs find a suitor for Carlos Marmol. At the very least, Marmol’s margin for error just got a lot smaller.
Cubs infielder/outfielder Ben Zobrist has been placed on the 10-day disabled list with back soreness. The move is retroactive to April 14. While it doesn’t appear to be the precursor to any serious injury, Zobrist has already missed six straight days of activity after feeling his back tighten up last weekend. Should he see the minimum time on the DL, as expected, he’ll be eligible to return by the start of the Cubs’ series against the Indians on Tuesday.
Prior to his injury, the 36-year-old outfielder raked an impressive .326/.408/.465 with three extra-base hits in 49 plate appearances. He last appeared for the Cubs during their homestand last weekend and helped propel the team to a 14-10 win over the Braves with three hits, two walks and two RBI. Provided that he can remain healthy going forward, it’s a promising start for the veteran outfielder, who has yet to return to the All-Star-worthy numbers he posted with the club in 2016.
With Zobrist sidelined for the time being, Ian Happ and Albert Almora Jr. have shared the leadoff spot and center field duties over the last week. Happ went 0-for-8 with six strikeouts in two games before passing the baton to Almora, who collected five hits and two RBI in 11 at-bats.