Yankees sign RHP Hiroki Kuroda
The New York Yankees today announced they have signed right-handed pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to a one-year Major League contract, extending through the 2014 season.
Kuroda, 38, went 11-13 with a 3.31 ERA (201.1IP, 74ER) in 32 starts with the Yankees in 2013. He made nine scoreless starts, the most such starts among all American League pitchers and second-most in the Majors behind only the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw (10).
Kuroda is one of just four American League starters to post sub-3.33 ERAs in each of the last two seasons (3.31 in 2013 and 3.32 in '12), joining the Mariners' Felix Hernandez, the White Sox' Chris Sale and the Angels' Jered Weaver. Since joining the Yankees prior to the 2012 season, he has tossed at least 7.0 scoreless innings in 14 of his starts, tied with Kershaw for most in the Majors over the two-year stretch.
Prior to joining the Yankees in 2012, Kuroda spent his previous four seasons with Los Angeles-NL (2008-11), going 41-46 with a 3.45 ERA (699.0IP, 268ER) in 115 games (114 starts). Among pitchers who changed leagues during the 2011-12 offseason, his 16 wins in 2012 were tied with the Pirates' A.J. Burnett for second-most in the Majors behind only Washington's Gio Gonzalez (21).
A native of Osaka, Japan, Kuroda became the fourth Japan-born player and third such pitcher to appear in a Major League game for the Yankees, joining outfielder Hideki Matsui (2003-09), left-handed pitcher Kei Igawa (2007-08) and right-handed pitcher Hideki Irabu (1997-99). Since Kuroda's Yankees debut, right-handed pitcher Ryota Igarashi (2012) and outfielder Ichiro Suzuki (2012-13) have also played for the club.
Over his six Major League seasons, Kuroda has gone 68-70 with a 3.40 ERA (1,120.0IP, 423ER) in 180 career appearances (179 starts). He has made at least 30 starts and tossed more than 180.0 innings in five of his Major League campaigns (all but his injury-shortened 2009 season).
Among all Japan-born pitchers ever to play in the Major Leagues, his 3.42 career ERA is the lowest all-time among pitchers who have made 75-or-more career starts or pitched at least 500.0 innings, while his 68 wins and 840 strikeouts trail only Hideo Nomo's career totals of 123 wins and 1,918 strikeouts.
Originally signed by the Dodgers as a non-drafted free agent on December 18, 2007, Kuroda spent 11 seasons (1997-2007) pitching for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Japanese Central League. In 271 appearances (244 starts) for the Carp, he went 103-89 with a 3.69 ERA (1,700.1IP, 697ER).