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Former Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda to retire

Japan’s Kyodo News reports that former New York Yankees pitcher Hiroki Kuroda has announced that he will retire at the end of the season.

He broke the news to his teammates prior to their first practice ahead of the Japan Series, where they are set to take on the Hokkaido Nippon-Ham Fighters starting on Saturday.

“The Japan Series will be the end.  I’ve decided to hang it up.  I’ve been shown an excellent dream with an excellent team,” Kuroda said.  “And now I want to go out with a smile on my face, all of us celebrating a championship pouring beer on each other.”

In Japan, Kuroda is known for his long run in Nippon Professional Baseball with the Hiroshima Carp.  Hiroshima is the organization came into baseball with in 1997 and returned to after his run in Major League Baseball.

Throughout his 13-year career in NPB, Kuroda holds a 124-105 record in with the Hiroshima squad.  He has provided the Carp over 2,000 innings of work with an overall ERA of 3.55.  This includes going 11-8 with a 2.55 ERA in 2015, and 10-8 with a 3.09 ERA in 2016.

Kuroda did not make it to the United States or Major League Baseball until 2008 when he was 33-years-old.  Between stints in Hiroshima, he excelled over seven seasons.  In 2008, he signed a three-year deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.  Starting with his fourth season and moving forward, he signed successive one-year contracts, first to return to Los Angeles, then three single-season deals on the east coast with the Yankees.

Year after year, Kuroda epitomized consistency for pitchers, nearly providing both the Dodgers and Yankees with identical production.

In three seasons in the Bronx, he went 38-33 and won a career-high 16 games in 2012.  In total, he struck out 986 batters, averaging 30.1 starts and 188.2 innings per season with a 3.45 ERA and and 79-79 record over his seven-year MLB career.

Hats off to Kuroda on an incredible 20 years as a professional baseball player.  All the best moving forward through retirement.