Fukudome returns to Japan after 5 seasons in MLB
"I'm sure Japanese baseball has changed a lot in the six years I've been away," Fukudome said on Hanshin's website. "I hope the players around me will help me get re-adjusted."
Fukudome made the National League All-Star team in his rookie season with Chicago but never quite lived up to the expectations in his 3-1/2 seasons with the Cubs.
Fukudome gave up plans to return the majors after being released by the New York Yankees' Triple-A affiliate Scranton/Wilkes-Barre at the end of the 2012 season.
Before signing with the Cubs in 2008, Fukudome was a key player for the Chunichi Dragons and was named the Central League Most Valuable Player in 2006.
Copyright 2013 by The Associated Press
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