LOS ANGELES (November 15, 2010) – The Los Angeles Dodgers today signed right-handed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year contract. General Manager Ned Colletti made the announcement.
“As we continue our commitment to winning, Hiroki Kuroda will play a significant role in our rotation, which is a very important part of our club,” said Colletti. “He has had success in the regular season as well as the postseason and we look forward to having him back in a Dodger uniform in 2011. With four starters returning from last year, we feel very good about our rotation and we will continue to look for ways to improve the staff.”
Kuroda’s 3.60 ERA is the lowest among all Japanese starting pitchers in Major League history, topping Boston’s Daisuke Matsuzaka (4.18, 2nd) and former Dodgers Hideo Nomo (4.24, 3rd) and Kazuhisa Ishii (4.44, 5th).
With the Dodgers, Kuroda is 28-30 with a 3.60 ERA over 83 games (82 starts) the last three seasons. In 2010, the Japanese right-hander established career highs in wins (11), innings pitched (196.1), ERA (3.39) and strikeouts (159).
In 14 starts over the second half of the season, Kuroda posted a 2.87 ERA (30 ER/94.0 IP) and limited opponents to a .204 batting average, a mark that was tied for the fifth lowest in the National League. On the season, his 3.31 walk-to-strikeout ratio was the eighth best in the NL and his .243 opponents’ batting average ranked 18th.
Kuroda has averaged just 2.06 walks per 9.0 innings in his three-year career, which is the fourth-lowest mark among National League pitchers since the start of the 2008 season.
In 2009, Kuroda was named the club’s Opening Day starter, becoming just the third Japanese-born pitcher to earn that honor. In 2008, he was the Dodgers’ best pitcher during the postseason, going 2-0 with a 1.46 ERA in two starts against the Cubs and Phillies in the NLDS and NLCS.
Since moving to Los Angeles, Kuroda has made an immediate impact on the community, as he has donated more than $200,000 to the Dodgers Dream Foundation and ThinkCure!, the latter of which is the Dodgers’ official charity that raises funds to accelerate collaborative research to cure cancer. Kuroda lost both of his parents to lung cancer.
The 35-year old was originally signed by Los Angeles to a three-year contract on Dec. 18, 2007 after a stellar career in the Japanese Central League, where he was a three-time All-Star (2005-07). At his introductory news conference at Dodger Stadium, more than 50 members of the Japanese and American media attended. In 11 seasons for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, Kuroda went 103-89 while positing a 3.69 ERA in 271 games. In Japan, the right-hander was named the Most Valuable Pitcher and won a Gold Glove following the 2005 season.
Kuroda and his wife Masayo have two daughters, Hinatsu,8, and Wakana, 5, and make their off-season home in Los Angeles.
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