The Kochi Fighting Dogs announced earlier today that they release Hideki Irabu from his contract. According to a post on Irabu's website, he was diagnosed with inflammation in his right thumb and will require at least 3 weeks for recovery.
The injury will likely shut Irabu down for 3 weeks, not including time for rehab. Irabu was concerned about taking up a roster spot and asked that the Kochi Fighting Dogs release him.
Irabu mentions that he intends to go to the US for rehab and will continue to work towards getting his pitching career back on track. But much will depend on how things going during his rehab.