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12/14/07 7:59 PM ET

Mariners remain in running for Kuroda

Despite reports to contrary, Japanese righty still undecided

The Mariners are still in the running for free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda.

Just two days after it was widely reported that Kuroda had decided to sign a three-year, $33 million contract with the Dodgers, his agent, Joe Urvbon, told the Seattle Post-Intelligencer on Friday afternoon that the pitcher has not made up his mind.

"We are at the point where the only thing I can say is his decision is very close," Urbon told the newspaper. "I think the best thing for us to do right now is to wait. He is at the point to where he can make a decision. But that decision has not been made."

Kuroda, 32, also is being pursued by the Diamondbacks and Royals, who have the most lucrative offer on the table -- four years, $44 million.

Seattle also has offered a four-year contract, which is one more year than either the Dodgers or Diamondbacks have submitted. But there have been reports that Kuroda would prefer a three-year deal and then perhaps return to Japan to finish his career.

Kuroda posted a 12-8 record for the Hiroshima Carp last season and has a 103-89 career record in Japan. He currently is in Los Angeles with Steve Hilliard, another of his agents, going over his options.

A decision is expected before Sunday.

Hot Stove

Urbon said he didn't know if Kuroda will visit with any team during his current stay in the U.S.

"I don't think anybody knows but Hiroki [if he will visit teams]," Urbon told the Post-Intelligencer. "Everybody is willing to jump on a plane if necessary. He may or many not need that extra bit of reinforcement."

Jim Street is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.