Hiroki Kuroda says his years in the majors were “tougher than they were enjoyable”

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Hiroki Kuroda pitched for the Dodgers and the Yankees for several years, and pitched pretty darn well for a lot of those years. But upon his return to Japan, he is not remembering those years as particularly wonderful:

A simple question about how he viewed his time in the major leagues prompted him to drop a verbal bomb in his response.

“To sum it up in one word, it was ‘tough,'” Kuroda said in the news conference. “In a situation in which I didn’t understand the language and battled to make it through the season, the seven years were — including physically — tougher than they were enjoyable.”

Kuroda, 40, will pitch for the Hiroshima Carp this season. Here’s hoping he enjoys himself a bit more now that he’s back home.

Pirates hire Ben Cherington as their new general manager

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The Pittsburgh Pirates have hired Ben Cherington as the team’s new general manager. They do so after the general manager meetings ended, but better late than never.

Cherington served as GM of the Boston Red Sox for four years, winning the World Series in 2013, but resigned during the 2015 season after Dave Dombrowski was named Boston’s new president of baseball operations. Which was a defacto demotionn for Cherington who, until then, had the final say in baseball decisions. Dombrowski, of course, was fired late in the season this year. Cherington went on to work for the Toronto Blue Jays as a vice president, but was seen as biding his time for another GM position. Now he has one.

Cherington takes over in Pittsburgh for executive vice president and general manager Neal Huntington, who was fired after a 12 years at the helm. Also fired was team president Frank Coonelly. Travis Williams replaced Coonelly recently. While the Pirates experienced a few years of contention under Huntington and Coonelly, they have slid out of contention in recent years as the club has traded away promising players for little return, all while cutting payroll. There’s a very big rebuilding job ahead of Cherington.

The first move he’ll have to make: hire a manager, as the team still hasn’t replaced Clint Hurdle since he was dismissed in the final weekend of the regular season.