Hiroki Kuroda agreed to return to the Hiroshima Carp, the Central League club announced Saturday. Their former ace, who left after the 2007 season, posted a 79-79 record in the big leagues, where almost everything was new. Unfortunately, one adjustment Kuroda didn’t have to make was learning how to live without run support.
Before he left, the Carp had one of Japan’s weakest offenses — a fact that was masked by their playing in one of the nation’s best hitters’ parks. For most of the 1990s, Kuroda and Yokohama BayStars ace Daisuke Miura were undersupported and their quality largely unnoticed. But there is a body of evidence to suggest that for several years Kuroda and Miura, both toiling in great hitters’ parks for bad teams with mediocre batting and fielding, were the CL’s best two pitchers.
Here is a reprint of the interview I did with him in September for Kyodo News: