Hiroki Kuroda to return to Japan

Hiroki Kuroda is returning to Japan to pitch for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp, an official with knowledge of the move told ESPNNewYork.com, confirming Japanese media reports.

The free-agent right-hander reunites with his first professional team, reportedly on a one-year contract worth $3.3 million.

Kuroda pitched for Hiroshima from 1997 to 2007 before signing with the Los Angeles Dodgers prior to the 2008 season. He spent four years with the Dodgers before moving to the New York Yankees.

Kuroda, who will turn 40 in February, went 11-9 with a 3.71 ERA in 32 starts last season, his third with the Yankees.

The Japanese broadcaster NHK and other reports said Saturday that Kuroda will wear No. 15, the same number he wore when he last pitched for the Carp. Hiroshima kept the number open for him during his time in the major leagues, where he wore 18.

Kuroda was perhaps the most durable starter in the Yankees rotation the past three seasons. He worked 199 innings in 2014 after exceeding 200 in his first two seasons with New York and the final season with the Dodgers.

The Yankees believe they are set to begin the 2015 season with Masahiro Tanaka, CC Sabathia, Michael Pineda, Nathan Eovaldi and Chris Capuano in the rotation, a source told ESPNNewYork.com. Plus, they have Ivan Nova due to return from Tommy John surgery in late May.

In seven MLB seasons, Kuroda compiled a 79-79 record with a 3.45 ERA and 986 strikeouts in 1,319 innings pitched.

He was paid $16 million in 2014.

Information from ESPNNewYork.com's Andrew Marchand and The Associated Press was used in this report.