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COL@LAD: Kuroda sharp in losing effort vs. Rockies

LOS ANGELES -- Since his name began popping up in trade rumors earlier this season, Hiroki Kuroda hasn't offered much indication one way or the other if he'd be willing to waive his full no-trade clause.

It was more of the same after Wednesday's 3-1 loss to the Rockies at Dodger Stadium, Kuroda's final start before Sunday's non-waiver Trade Deadline. More of the same, until his response to one final question -- which may have hinted which way he's leaning.

"My honest feeling is that I can't fathom wearing another uniform than the Dodgers uniform right now," Kuroda said through a translator. "I never thought about it, and it's really hard to think."

That may be, but Kuroda holds all the power in a potential deal, meaning he could have come out weeks ago and said he flat-out didn't want to be traded.

"I haven't really decided on anything, so I can't really give you an answer," Kuroda said. "Today I was wearing a Dodgers uniform, and I was playing here, to win, for this team. I have a few days before the Trade Deadline, so I'm going to think about it, I'm going to talk to my agent about it, and we'll go on from there."

Earlier this month, Kuroda met with Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti and was assured he'd be kept in the loop of trade possibilities. He said hasn't met with him since, preferring to keep all of his focus on the field.

Manager Don Mattingly would love to keep Kuroda, whose 13 losses this season are not at all an indication of the way he's pitched. If they were, why would so many teams be interested, Mattingly said.

"I know it's part of the business," Mattingly said of the trade possibility. "And guys of his stature that pitch the way they do, anybody that would have him knows he would keep them in every game. You hate to lose one of your guys."

If, indeed, Wednesday was Kuroda's final appearance with the Dodgers, he could forget the other 20 starts he's made this season and still remember well what it felt like for him to be a Dodger in 2011.

The game, in which Kuroda pitched six solid innings and allowed one run while the Dodger bats were silent in a loss, was a microcosm of Kuroda's year to this point.

Heading into his Wednesday's game, Kuroda had been given just 20 runs of support the last 10 games he started. His ERA has hovered around 3 during that time, but he has lost 10 of his last 11 decisions.

He said the losses piling up has been much more frustrating than having to deal with the endless trade questions and speculation.

"You go out there to win," Kuroda said. "I feel frustrated and disappointed at the same time to lose, and I have experienced that disappointment 13 times already."

Thirteen is a number that has center fielder Matt Kemp perplexed. He said when he looked at the scoreboard before the game when it was at 12, it jumped out at him because Kuroda deserves so much more for his efforts.

"He should have a better record than that," Kemp said. "We should've scored some runs for him."

Mattingly said Kuroda has been winning the battles, but the team has continually lost the war. He noted it's tough on any player when the results aren't there, but Kuroda's handled the offense's struggles as well as he possibly could.

"You feel bad to a point because at the end of the day he gets the 'L,'" Mattingly said. "That's the toughest part is that you look at his record and it doesn't look like he's pitched well, but I think anyone that's been here all year long knows he's pitched extremely well."

And opposing general managers know it, too.

If Kuroda makes another start in a Dodger uniform, it will come Tuesday in San Diego. If he doesn't, it means in his final start as a Dodger, he was outdone by Rockies right-hander Aaron Cook.

Cook scattered six hits in his seven shutout innings, and the Dodgers never really threatened against him. On the two occasions they put men in scoring position, there were already two outs, and Cook promptly got the third one.

"Tonight has an awful lot to do with our starting pitcher," Rockies manager Jim Tracy said. "Aaron was real good tonight. From the outset, he was pounding the zone and had sink to his pitches."

Struggling catcher Rod Barajas blasted his ninth home run in the bottom of the ninth inning, but despite some quality at-bats following him, the Dodgers didn't produce another baserunner as Huston Street nailed down the save. Both Kemp and Rafael Furcal, who appears to be turning a corner offensively, had two hits for the Dodgers.

Cook made sure they went for naught. Comments