TSN TV Schedule TSN2 TV Schedule
MLB

Twins grant Nishioka's request for release

{eot}
Associated Press
9/28/2012 1:19:03 PM
Decrease Text SizeIncrease Text Size
Text Size

MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins released Tsuyoshi Nishioka on Friday, ending their experiment with the Japanese middle infielder after two rough seasons.

The move, which the Twins said came at Nishioka's request and was supported by the club, wasn't a surprise. But the way he went out was unique.

Accepting blame for his failure to produce at the plate or play capable defence at shortstop and second base, Nishioka waived his right to his $3 million salary for the 2013 season and a $250,000 buyout.

So they don't owe him any more money, and Nishioka is now a free agent. With guaranteed contracts, major league teams rarely are able to get off the payroll hook like this for players no longer in their plans. But Nishioka, in a statement released by the Twins, was nothing but graceful.

"I would like to thank the Twins organization for helping me fulfil my dream of playing in Major League Baseball," Nishioka said. "I take full responsibility for my performance which was below my own expectations. At this time, I have made the decision that it is time to part ways. I have no regrets and know that only through struggle can a person grow stronger. I appreciate all the support the team and the fans in Minnesota and Rochester have shown me."

General manager Terry Ryan downplayed Nishioka's generosity; the 28-year-old is likely to find an interested team again in Japan.

"It was probably the best thing to happen for both parties," Ryan said, adding: "I'm sure he'll do well in Japan, and it certainly frees up some payroll for us."

Nishioka spent most of 2012 with the Triple-A Rochester Red Wings, batting .258 with two home runs and 34 RBIs in 392 at-bats. He played in only three games for the Twins this summer, making two errors plus several other mistakes in the field and going 0 for 12 with one sacrifice fly.

"I think he wants to get into a situation where he gets an opportunity to kind of renew it and start over," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He understands what happened up here. It just didn't work out for him. ... Just kind of get free of this and go from there. That's the right thing for him. Good for him."

Signed to a three-year, $9.25 million contract before the 2011 season after the Twins bid more than $5.3 million to his Japanese team to gain negotiating rights, Nishioka broke his lower left leg just five games in to his rookie year when he stayed too close to the base while trying to turn a double play and New York Yankees slugger Nick Swisher slid into him.

Nishioka returned from the injury that June but never found a rhythm, finishing with a .226 average and just five extra-base hits in 221 at-bats. He made 12 errors in 68 games in 2011.

This was a far cry from Nishioka's performance in Japan, where he was the Nippon Professional Baseball batting champion in 2010, hitting .346 for the Chiba Lotte Marines and winning the equivalent of a Gold Glove award for his defence.

Ryan said, though, that the Twins aren't any less likely to scout in Japan after this mistake.

"We tried. He tried. ... Just didn't work," Ryan said.

Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Joe Mauer (Photo: The Canadian Press)

zoom

(Photo: The Canadian Press)
Share This

Share This

Add to FacebookAdd to DiggAdd to FarkAdd to TwitterAdd to Stumble UponAdd to Reddit
Print this Story



Canadians in MLB

Canadians in the Majors

Take a look at the early-season results from all of Canada's Major League representatives. More...

The Boys of Summer

MLB Preview 2014

It's time for another season of Major League Baseball. Get primed for 2014 with previews for all 30 teams including Scott MacArthur's look at what to expect from the Toronto Blue Jays.


American League: East | Central | West
National League: East | Central | West
Toronto Blue Jays

Free Agency: American League | National League

Podcasts

TSN 1050: Mike Richards in the Morning: April 21 - Dirk Hayhurst

TSN 1050 Blue Jays Analyst Dirk Hayhurst joined Mike Richards in the Morning to talk about the Toronto Blue Jays' play lately.

TSN 1050: The Bryan Hayes Show: April 18 - Scott MacArthur

TSN 1050 Blue Jays Reporter Scott MacArthur discussed the embarrassing loss that the Blue Jays experienced against the Twins.

TSN 690 - Melnick in the Afternoon - Orlando Cabrera - April 10th

Mitch, Rod and Gallo welcome former Montreal Expo shortstop and 2004 World Series Champion Orlando Cabrera to the show.


More Podcasts

© 2014
All rights reserved.
Bell Media Television