/

Kuroda returning to Carp

Kyodo

Free agent pitcher Hiroki Kuroda will rejoin the Central League’s Hiroshima Carp in 2015 after seven seasons in the majors, the club announced on Saturday.

Hiroshima gave the 39-year-old Kuroda a one-year contract worth an estimated ¥400 million plus performance-related bonuses.

“We want him (Kuroda) along with (pitcher Kenta) Maeda to be the axis of the team and lead it to the championship,” Carp team director Kiyoaki Suzuki said.

Kuroda had been a reliable piece in the New York Yankees’ rotation, finishing the 2014 campaign with an 11-9 record and a 3.71 ERA over 32 starts.

The team had reportedly hoped to keep Kuroda in the Bronx for another season prior to his decision to return to Japan.

Kuroda chose to come home and play for Hiroshima, despite the possibility of him being able to earn five times what the Carp offered him by staying in MLB.

“I am grateful for the choice Kuroda has made,” said Hiroshima manager Koichi Ogata. “This will raise the motivation of the players and have a significant impact on the team.

“The club has persevered with the negotiations and I feel this shows how determined the club is to win the pennant next season.”

Kuroda began his pro career with the Carp in 1997 and spent 11 seasons with the team before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers as an international free agent ahead of the 2008 season. The Japanese righty owns a 79-79 record with a 3.45 ERA in 212 major-league games, spanning four years with the Dodgers and three with the Yankees.

With his 10th win of the year in September, Kuroda became the first Japanese pitcher to log double-digit wins in the majors in five consecutive seasons.