Hiroki Kuroda worries about brother

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Los Angeles Dodgers pitcher Hiroki Kuroda said that although most of his family back in Japan live a safe distance from the area affected by Friday's earthquake, he does have concern for his brother, who frequently travels on business to the northern part of the country, where the quake primarily struck.

Kuroda said he isn't aware of whether his brother was on one of those trips at the time.

"I haven't really contacted my brother yet, but the rest of my family is OK," Kuroda said through interpreter Kenji Nimura. "I think he is OK, but I don't know his whereabouts."

Kuroda said he learned of the magnitude-8.9 earthquake when he got up a little after 6 a.m. and went onto the Internet.

"I started looking at the pictures, and the pictures got worse and worse," he said. "Then I turned on the TV and saw devastating images, and it was horrifying."

Kuroda's wife and children live with him in Los Angeles. He said that although he feels confident most of his family members in Japan are not in danger, he is extremely worried about several of his baseball-playing friends with the Rakuten Golden Eagles of the Japanese Pacific League, among them former major leaguers Kazuo Matsui and Akinori Iwamura.

The Golden Eagles are based in Sendai, the northern city on the east coast of Japan nearest the earthquake's epicenter.

"I have a lot of friends on that team," Kuroda said. "I am worried about those friends and their families."

Nimura, who has been the Dodgers' interpreter for both Japanese- and Spanish-speaking players since Kuroda joined the team in 2008, said his brother-in-law has several family members in Sendai and hasn't been able to contact them.

Tony Jackson covers the Dodgers for ESPNLosAngeles.com. Follow him on Twitter. Follow him on Twitter.