Twins release Tsuyoshi Nishioka
According to the team, the move was made at Nishioka’s request, and the infielder also waived his right to the $3.25 million remaining on his contract.
"I would like to thank the Twins organization for helping me fulfill my dream of playing in Major League Baseball," Nishioka said in a statement. "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."
Nishioka came to America following the 2010 season with a strong pedigree, as he was the reigning Nippon Professional Baseball batting champion (hitting .348 for Chiba Lotte that season) and had also just won the Japanese equivalent of a Gold Glove.
The Twins paid a $5.3 million posting fee to win his exclusive negotiation rights, then signed him to a three-year, $9.25-million deal with a $4 million team option or $250k buyout for 2014, but he never found his niche offensively or defensively.
A shortstop by trade, Nishioka moved to second base for his rookie MLB season, but just five games in he suffered a broken leg and missed more than two months. He returned in June, but hit just .226 in 221 at-bats and committed 12 errors in 68 games.
Nishioka spent most of 2012 at Triple-A Rochester, hitting .258 with two home runs and 34 RBI in 392 at-bats, and also played three games for the Twins this summer – going 0-for-12 with a walk, a sac fly, and two errors in three games.
The 28-year-old was outrighted off the 40-man roster in August, and he is now once again a free agent, one likely headed back to Japan.
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