Cubs, Padres among teams targeting OF Fukudome

The Kosuke Fukudome vigil continued into Tuesday morning, with no word on whether the outfielder would leave Japan for the United States.

The agent for the free-agent outfielder told the Chicago Sun-Times that he would likely receive word of Fukudome's decision late Monday but that he wouldn't communicate with teams in Major League Baseball until Tuesday.

The Nikkansports newspaper reported Saturday that Fukudome had turned down an offer from the Tokyo Yomiuri Giants and had decided to play in the United States. The Cubs, Padres, White Sox and Giants are thought to be the leading suitors for the career .305 hitter.

"It's no secret we'd like him to come to the Cubs," general manager Jim Hendry said, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Joe Urbon, Fukudome's U.S. agent, said that MLB teams would only learn Fukudome's decision after the player had met face-to-face with Japanese league teams that had presented offers.

"Once he makes the decision, he has -- but for maybe some final points -- offers from clubs that we can then talk about," Urbon said, according to the Sun-Times. "And then he'll take a reasonable amount of time and maybe ask some reasonable questions. Assuming he's coming, that might take another day."

After hitting .351 with 31 homers and 104 RBIs in 2006, Fukudome won the Most Valuable Player award in the Japanese Central League. His 2007 season was limited to 81 games due to injury that required elbow surgery.