“Every time Kenji would come around, I’d tell him to leave,” Barajas said. “I’m like, get away. I don’t want you right now. It’s just me and him, and we’re working on our English.”
Barajas was drawn to the pitcher because his wife is half-Japanese, so he has interest in the language and culture. He has set a goal of seeing Kuroda do a postgame interview in English by the end of the year.
Clayton Kershaw has also formed a bond with Kuroda despite the language barrier, something Nimura appreciates.
“(Kershaw is) one of the few people that made the effort to understand Kuroda,” Nimura said. “We need more people like that, people who are willing to understand. …