Hiroki Kuroda

Hiroki Kuroda (黒田 博樹, Kuroda Hiroki, born February 10, 1975) is a professional baseball player from Osaka, Japan. He is a starting pitcher for the Los Angeles Dodgers. Kuroda was born and lived in Osaka (Osaka-shi, Osaka-fu). His father, Kazuhiro Kuroda, was also a professional baseball player who played for the Nankai Hawks. He attended Uenomiya High School in Osaka and Senshu University in Tokyo. He joined the Hiroshima Toyo Carp in 1996 as a second-round draft pick. During his early career, he was overshadowed by the 1996 first-round draft pick, Toshikazu Sawazaki, who was the same age as Kuroda and won the Japanese Rookie of the Year award in 1997. However, Kuroda gradually built up his status to become a consistent part of the starting rotation while Sawazaki began to fade away. In 1999 he pitched in the International Cup held in Sydney, and marked a win against Korea and a complete-game shutout against Taiwan. Kuroda won over 10 games for three consecutive years from 2001. In 2003 he became the opening-day starter, taking over for former ace Shinji Sasaoka. He pitched poorly at the beginning of the season, but improved after the all-star break to end the season with 13 wins....
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