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Hiroki Kuroda Chooses Loyalty Over Ring
Despite the haze of uncertainty surrounding the Dodgers leading up to the trading deadline, one thing became sorted out on Saturday. Dodgers’ starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda will be staying in Los Angeles.
“I told [General Manager] Ned [Colletti] through my agent that I’ll be wearing this uniform throughout the season,” Kuroda said through interpreter Kenji Nimura. Just so nothing got lost in translation or poetry Kuroda added, “I’m not going anywhere. I’ll be wearing the Dodgers uniform.”
Kuroda’s sense of loyalty to the team was the deciding factor for him to stay in Los Angeles.
“It’s really important for me to play with the same guys I started with in spring training,” Kuroda said. “I started with these guys, and I want to finish with these guys.”
Even the frustration of all the losses due to the lack of run support didn’t drive him away from the team. “Losing is always disappointing, but I made the decision.”
With Kuroda showing the team his love, Mattingly hopes the team can repay him in kind.
“I hope we get him all kinds of runs,” Mattingly said.
Despite not being able to get any prospects from a proposed trade, there wasn’t a hint of bitterness in Colletti’s voice.
“I told him nine, ten days ago that whatever he wanted to do I was fine,” Colletti said.
Knowing that Kuroda was hesitant to leave, the Dodgers’ front office was cautious in shopping him to teams.
“We made some inquiries and got some idea of what we could probably do,” Colletti said. But there was never a final offer on the table for Kuroda.
Colletti was not surprised that Kuroda chose loyalty over winning.
“In a way it’s refreshing,” Colletti remarked. “The way it was explained to me was that he made a commitment, and he wanted to fulfill that commitment. It’s refreshing that he felt so strongly about it.
“And you know what? I’m not surprised. Knowing him like I know him I’m not surprised that’s how he felt. In fact in my heart of hearts I think I would have been more surprised if he said, ‘Yeah, I’ll go someplace else.’”