Hiroki Kuroda is going back to the Land of the Rising Sun.
The free agent right-hander reportedly will return to Japan next season, per Yahoo! Japan’s Daisuke Sugiura. Kuroda, who turns 40 in February, spent the past three seasons with the New York Yankees.
Kuroda’s status for 2015 had been up in the air even before he hit free agency. The starting pitcher was homesick for Japan, and FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal reported back in April that Kuroda seriously considered retirement before the 2014 season.
The Yankees likely were preparing for this moment, but they still lose a reliable starter in Kuroda. He went 11-9 with a 3.71 ERA and 149 strikeouts in a rotation depleted by injuries in 2014.
Kuroda made his MLB debut with the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008 after an 11-year career in Japan. In his seven seasons in the U.S., he went 79-79 with a 3.45 ERA.
Thumbnail photo via Brad Penner/USA TODAY Sports Images