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Yankees' Hiroki Kuroda to pitch in Japan, reports say

Yankees starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda delivers against the

Yankees starting pitcher Hiroki Kuroda delivers against the Tampa Bay Rays during an MLB baseball game at Yankee Stadium on Tuesday, Sept. 9, 2014. Photo Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

TOKYO - Japanese media report free-agent right-hander Hiroki Kuroda will return to Japan in 2015 to pitch for his first team, the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.

The reports say Kuroda, who turns 40 in February, has signed a one year contract worth $3.3 million. Kuroda pitched for Hiroshima from 1997-2007 and then spent four years with the Los Angeles Dodgers before moving to the Yankees.

The Japanese broadcaster NHK and other reports said Saturday that Kuroda will wear the same number, 18, that he wore with the Yankees the past three seasons. Hiroshima kept the number open for him during his time in the major leagues, awaiting his return.

Last season, Kuroda was 11-9 with a 3.71 ERA. He was 79-79 with a 3.45 ERA in 1,319 career major league innings. He struck out 986 and walked only 292.

Kuroda was perhaps the most durable starter in the Yankees' rotation the past three seasons. He worked 199 innings this year after exceeding 200 in his first two with the Yankees and the final season with the Dodgers.

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