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Hiroki Kuroda doesn't get much support in 3-1 loss to Rockies

After another frustrating loss, pitcher could waive his no-trade clause.

July 27, 2011|By Dylan Hernandez

An empty ballpark. A game without any postseason implications. A solid performance. No win to show for it.

For Hiroki Kuroda, Wednesday night was a repeat of countless other frustrating nights he has endured this season. He held the Colorado Rockies to one run over six innings, only to be saddled with the loss in a 3-1 defeat at Dodger Stadium.

While Kuroda lowered his earned-run average to 3.11, his record dropped to 6-13. Until Rod Barajas hit a ninth-inning home run, the Dodgers were on the verge of being shut out for the third time in his last seven starts.

But Kuroda can put an end to the vicious cycle. The decision appears to be his to make.

All he has to do is waive his no-trade clause.

General Manager Ned Colletti met with Kuroda in San Francisco last week to talk about the possibility. The New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox are among several American League teams interested in acquiring him by the non-waiver trade deadline on Sunday, according to reports.

Kuroda said he hasn't spent significant time pondering his options. He acknowledged that would change over the next several days.

"I obviously I have to think it about more," he said. "But, first, my agent will have to tell me what my options are."

Kuroda accepted less than his perceived market value last winter in exchange for the inclusion of the no-trade provision in his deal. In an off-season in which Ted Lilly signed a three-year, $35-million deal, Kuroda accepted a one-year, $12-million contract.

Kuroda and his family have called Los Angeles home for the last four years. The city has a large Japanese community. His daughters attend school in the area.

"At this point, I can't imagine myself wearing another uniform," he said.

But he is 35. This could be his last chance to win a World Series, particularly if he intends to pitch in Japan next season.

Fans of the small-market Hiroshima Carp are awaiting his return.

Kuroda pitched 11 seasons for the Carp, one more than he was obligated. When he became a free agent for the first time in 2006 and could have signed with a major league club or a powerhouse Japanese team such as the Tokyo Giants, he instead took less money to return to the Carp. The decision made him a hero in Hiroshima.

When Kuroda signed with the Dodgers a year later, he turned down a four-year offer and accepted a three-year deal instead. At the time, his agent said he wanted the option of pitching for the Carp again.

Like the Dodgers, the Carp are short on cash and can't hit. And if he ever pitches for them again, he probably will be subjected to the same fate he suffered Wednesday.

Kuroda held the Rockies to six hits in six innings, striking out six in the process.

He was doomed by a few two-out hits in the fifth inning. Eric Young Jr. singled to center. So did Dexter Fowler. A hit by Troy Tulowitzki drove in Young.

"When I was stretching, I was looking at his record," Matt Kemp said of Kuroda. "He should have a better record than that."

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