Hiroshima Carp right-hander Hiroki Kuroda looks set to return during the upcoming All-Star series after throwing his first bullpen session Tuesday since being deactivated due to right shoulder and ankle inflammation.

"I want to get my body ready for the All-Star games, get a feel for some live competition," Kuroda said of the series starting Friday at Tokyo Dome. The second game will be the next day at Hiroshima's Mazda Stadium.

"I want to go once more (workout session) in the pen before the series and see where I'm at," he said.

Kuroda received the most votes from both the fans and players among all Central League starting pitchers.

During the series, the 40-year-old former New York Yankee could face the Pacific League's high-flying youngsters such as Tomoya Mori of the Seibu Lions and Yuki Yanagita of the Softbank Hawks, an opportunity Kuroda is relishing.

"I feel they are good hitters who swing the bat well," Kuroda said. "I'm not at an age where I should be talking about gaining experience, but I'd like to learn from them."

Kuroda is 6-4 with a 2.68 ERA in his first season in Japan after seven seasons in the majors with the Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers.