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12/16/07 3:36 PM ET

Dodgers reel in Kuroda with contract

Japanese righty signs three-year deal worth $35.3 million

LOS ANGELES -- The Dodgers won the bidding war for Japanese right-handed starter Hiroki Kuroda, reaching an agreement Saturday on a three-year, $35.3 million contract.

He was formally introduced at Dodger Stadium in a Sunday afternoon news conference.

"Kuroda was arguably the best starting pitcher on the free-agent market and will be a great addition to our staff," said general manager Ned Colletti. "There was a lot of competition for a pitcher of his ilk, and we're thrilled that he's chosen to become a Dodger and to make Los Angeles his home."

Kuroda, 32, will join a rotation that already features Brad Penny, Derek Lowe and Chad Billingsley. The fifth starter will come from a group of candidates that includes Jason Schmidt and Esteban Loaiza.

Kuroda, who will become the seventh native of Japan to play for the Dodgers, was the Dodgers' primary pitching target this offseason, and his acquisition follows by a week the signing of free-agent outfielder Andruw Jones.

The Dodgers have now addressed their two biggest needs -- a power bat and a legitimate starting pitcher -- without trading any of their young talent.

Also in on the bidding for Kuroda were the Diamondbacks, Mariners and Royals.

Kuroda went 12-8 for the Hiroshima Carp last year and has a 103-89 career record in Japan.

While fans clamor for a new third baseman like Scott Rolen, management is believed more interested in deepening the bullpen and bench, while letting Nomar Garciaparra and Andy LaRoche compete for third base in the spring. An outfield surplus (Juan Pierre or Andre Ethier) provides Colletti with trade chips.

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