The Pirates' Chan Ho Park will join the Orix Buffaloes in Japan, the Yonhap News Agency reports. It isn't that surprising to see Park return to Asia, but it is a little strange that he would end up in Japan - Park said earlier this offseason that he would like to finish his career in his native Korea.â†µ
Park leaves the U.S. with the record for most major-league wins by an Asian-born pitcher. After a good first several years of his career with the Dodgers, Park signed a big contract with the Texas Rangers and quickly became a punchline, as decline and the difficulties of pitching in the hitter's haven in Arlington both hurt him in a big way. Park eventually remade himself into a reliever and had somewhat more success, pitching well enough to helpful in many of the last several years of his career. He pitched 28.1 innings for the Pirates last year.
UPDATE: A reader sent me an email to tell me that Park's wife grew up in Japan, so that's a possible reason he might go there.