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Carp pitcher Kuroda undecided on future

Kyodo

Hiroki Kuroda, who abandoned his major league career a year ago to fulfill a promise and return to the Hiroshima Carp, said Monday he has yet to decide if he will pitch next season.

“When it comes to having the heart, technique and strength for something, the big part is heart,” the 40-year-old Kuroda said. “It is will that drives your body.

“This year I had such high motivation, and I think it will be pretty hard to find something to exceed that. I returned more motivated than at any time in my baseball career.”

Kuroda said he would meet with the team by mid-December.

“It’s not a matter of where I’ll play, but whether I will play or not,” he said.

After winning 79 games in seven big league seasons, Kuroda returned this year to his roots with the Carp in Nippon Professional Baseball’s Central League. He said he was in no state to respond to questions about 2016 after an emotional season in which he went 11-8 with a 2.55 earned run average over 169⅔ innings.

“I felt burned out,” he said. “I was afraid of answering the question right away.”