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03/15/11 10:11 PM ET

Kuroda pledging $50,000 to Japan relief effort

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Hiroki Kuroda is not normally the type to get in front of a full clubhouse and address his teammates.

But these are not normal times.

The Dodgers starting pitcher on Tuesday told his teammates he was donating $50,000 to the earthquake and tsunami relief effort in his homeland of Japan and encouraged them to join him.

"As everyone knows, Japan has been hit with the most devastating catastrophe in its history," said Kuroda, who pitched 11 seasons in Japan before joining the Dodgers three years ago.

"I'm grateful to the Dodgers organization for offering a hand at this time of crisis and just praying for everyone in Japan. I am truly grateful for the concern my teammates have shown."

Kuroda said his money is a portion of what he donates annually through the terms of his $12 million contract.

"Every year I donate $100,000 to the ThinkCure Foundation and I decided to take half of that and give it to earthquake relief," he said. "I decided to do this as soon as the earthquake happened. And I heard the Dodgers organization was holding a fund-raiser today at Dodger Stadium and it means a lot to me that the people in this game are so concerned with what happened in Japan."

The Dodgers and NBC LA held a drive-through fund-raiser at Dodger Stadium throughout the day Tuesday.

Kuroda, whose family is safe back in Japan, was translated as always by Kenji Nimura, whose family still has not heard from an in-law missing in northeast Japan.

Kuroda said since he spoke to his family on Friday, he hasn't called, and instead is monitoring developments online and on television.

"I never stop watching," he said. "But it's just so unreal. It doesn't seem like my own country that's going through the crisis."

Kuroda, who is scheduled to start again on Saturday, said it is difficult to be so far away and know so many of his people are suffering.

"Since I'm here I feel so helpless," he said. "This is the least I can do. I can't do anything about the people who died in this tragedy, but for the survivors, maybe this can help them get on with their lives and have something to look forward to.

"I think it means a lot to the Japanese people that Major League Baseball and the teams are helping in this relief effort. As a representative of Japan, I am really grateful as well."

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