This Day In Dodgers History: Hiroki Kuroda Signs; Clayton Kershaw And Yasiel Puig Visit Cuba

Hiroki Kuroda agreed to a three-year, $35.2 million contract on this day in Los Angeles Dodgers. Prior to joining L.A. in 2007, the 33-year-old native of Osaka compiled a 103-89 record to go along with a 3.69 ERA in the Japanese Central League over 11 seasons playing for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

Across seven seasons in the Major Leagues with two teams (four with the Dodgers, and three with the New York Yankees), Kuroda amassed a 79-79 record with a 3.45 ERA in over 1,300 innings pitched. Along with 986 strikeouts, his time in the big leagues included six complete games.

Kuroda’s tenure with the Dodgers included a strong 2011 campaign in which he delivered a career-best 3.07 ERA in 202 innings. Earlier in his time with Los Angeles, Kuroda was a bright spot for the rotation in their 2008 playoff run, as he made two successful starts in both the National League Division Series against the Chicago Cubs.

Kuroda logged 6.1 shutout innings in Game 3, and held the Philadelphia Phillies to just two runs over six frames in Game 3 of the NL Championship Series.

Kuroda’s legacy as a successful Major League pitcher from Japan would go on to inspire future Dodgers starter Kenta Maeda.

Kershaw, Puig represent Dodgers in Cuba

Also on this day in Dodgers history, MLB began their first official visit to Cuba since 1999 with a news conference at Havana’s Hotel Nacional in 2015.

Players participating in the four days of children’s clinics and charitable events include White Sox first baseman Jose Abreu and former Dodgers All-Star Yasiel Puig, both defectors from the island nation to the United States to play baseball.

Joining his teammate, Clayton Kershaw also took part in the goodwill tour visit.

In addition to the humanitarian efforts, the Major Leagues returned in 2016 for a historic exhibition game between the Tampa Bay Rays and the Cuban national team. Attended by many dignitaries, the game showcased MLB’s international efforts to grow the league’s worldwide reach.

Have you subscribed to the Dodger Blue YouTube channel? Be sure to ring the notification bell to watch player interviews, participate in shows and giveaways, and stay up to date on all Dodgers news and rumors!