Former major league right-hander Hiroki Kuroda formally announced Tuesday that he plans to retire from baseball at the end of the season. His current team, the Hiroshima Carp, is set to take on the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters in the Japan Series starting on Saturday.
Kuroda was a member of the Carp from 1997-2007 before deciding to make the leap to the majors. He signed a three-year deal worth better than $35 million with the Los Angeles Dodgers in December of 2007. He proved to be a solid fixture in the Dodger rotation for four years, going 41-46 with a 3.49 ERA and a 1.18 WHIP.
He inked a one-year deal worth $10 million to join the New York Yankees in January of 2012. He went 38-33 in three seasons in New York and won a career-high 16 games in the 2012 campaign. In seven total MLB seasons, Kuroda posted a record of 79-79 with a 3.45 ERA.
He reportedly turned down millions in order to return to Japan in the winter of 2014 when he signed a one-year deal to return home and pitch for Hiroshima. The 41-year-old decided to play another year after a solid 2015 season during which he went 11-8 with a 2.25 ERA before announcing that the 2016 season will be his last (via the Japan Times):
“This had been constantly in my mind the past two to three years. It became tangible in September when we won the pennant. I had thought about announcing it after the Japan Series. But that next game might be my last, and I felt I had to tell my teammates and the fans who have cheered me on before that.”
Kuroda went 10-8 with a 3.09 ERA this season for the Carp.