BOSTON - If Joe Girardi had his way, there would have been two goodbyes at the Stadium on Thursday.
Girardi wanted veteran Hiroki Kuroda, who pitched well in the 6-5 Yankees victory and may retire after the season, to walk to the foul line before the ninth inning so fans could salute him.
But Kuroda declined.
"I was really grateful when he approached me to do that," Kuroda said through his translator. "But yesterday was meant for [Derek] Jeter, so I didn't want to take anything from him and I feel like I was in that position."
As for next season, Kuroda said he has not yet made up his mind, though he left some room for reading the tea leaves.
"Right now, I'm relieved that I don't have to think about the next outing," said Kuroda, who went 11-9 with a 3.71 ERA this season and is 38-33 with a 3.44 ERA in three years with the club. "To think about next year is something I cannot do right now."
For years, it has been speculated that Kuroda, 39, would finish his professional career in Japan, something he didn't outright discount.
"Right now, there are so many possibilities," he said. "In that sense, I have to sort of look at my options."
And if Thursday was Kuroda's last game as a Yankee, the pitcher expressed nothing but gratitude.
"I feel really proud to wear the Yankees uniform for the three years," he said. "And to have that experience, to pitch in a game like yesterday, I feel very proud."
Last test for Tanaka
Masahiro Tanaka will start Saturday, his second outing since coming off the DL. If there are no setbacks, the pitcher believes he'll be able to have a "normal" offseason, with no more worries about the elbow.
"It should give me some confidence and I should be able to go back home to Japan and should be able to work out the way I want to," Tanaka said through his translator.
Specifically of the elbow, Tanaka said he has "no fears" of reinjuring it.