The Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks announced the signing Tuesday of free-agent right-hander Kohei Arihara, making his return to Nippon Professional Baseball following a two-year stint with the Texas Rangers.

The 30-year-old is expected to be part of the starting rotation for the 2022 Pacific League runners-up following the departure of their former ace Kodai Senga for the New York Mets.

Arihara, who will wear the No. 17 jersey for the Hawks, will be introduced at a news conference later this month.

"I'm honored to have the chance to play for a team that aims to be the best in the world," Arihara said in a statement from the club. "I'll do my best to contribute to winning a championship."

Drafted by the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in the first round in 2014, Arihara logged 60 wins over six seasons with NPB's northernmost club and led the PL with a career-best 15 wins in 2019.

He joined the Rangers via the posting system in 2021 but made a limited impact in MLB while dealing with a right shoulder injury that required surgery. In 15 games for Texas, he went 3-7 with a 7.57 ERA.