Keiichi Hirano has decided to return to the Orix Buffaloes. According to Nikkan Sports, Hirano has agreed to a two-year deal worth an estimated 150 million yen a year. An official announcement is expected sometime in early January.
The Buffaloes' PR department provide the media with the following statement from Hirano:
I exercised my FA option and will be leaving the Hanshin Tigers to join the Orix Buffaloes. I want to thank the Hanshin organization, the manager, the coaches, and the staff for allowing me to grow as a professional player. More than anything, I am grateful to all the Hanshin Tigers' fans for all their support. I decided to sign [with the Buffaloes] because they are the team I started with and because I could feel they really needed me in order to win. As always, I will domy absolute best to first win a starting job.