Ardoin sees no barrier in debut
Backup backstop comfortable catching Kuroda
CHICAGO -- Danny Ardoin doesn't speak Japanese and has never caught Hiroki Kuroda in a game, not even in Spring Training, but he wasn't worried about his scheduled Dodgers debut behind the plate Tuesday night against the Cubs.
"I caught [Korean] Byung-Hyun Kim, no problem," said Ardoin, who at one time was the first-string backstop of the Colorado Rockies, until a knee injury suffered in a plate collision with Jose Cruz Jr. of the Dodgers sidelined his career.
Ardoin was promoted from Triple-A Las Vegas last week to replace Gary Bennett, and he's starting as All-Star Russell Martin gets a scheduled game off.
Ardoin said he sat with Kuroda and translator Kenji Nimura during much of Monday's series opener against the Cubs and talked about different approaches for each Cubs hitter. He said he compares Kuroda to Arizona's Dan Haren for stuff and style.
"When you prepare to catch a pitcher, you think about the style, not the language he speaks," said Ardoin. "We talked game plan yesterday. His English is good enough already. During the game, you speak more in body language anyway. He's a veteran pitcher. He knows what he wants to do. This is my 14th season catching. I've caught a lot of Latin players who didn't speak English. You learn how to communicate."
Ken Gurnick is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.