Hiroki Kuroda has heard about the difference between pitching in the NL West and the AL East.

Yesterday, after spending four seasons with the Dodgers, he got a first-hand look at it as the Yankees and Rays slugged it out in the season opener at Tropicana Field with the Rays coming back to beat Mariano Rivera, 7-6.

"I did everything I can to prepare for this," said Kuroda, who will start for the Yankees tonight for the first time after signing a one-year, $10 million contract in January.

Regardless, there's nothing a pitcher can do to figure it out until he gets on the field and he knows there may be a different type of pressure on him now.