Twins release Tsuyoshi Nishioka

09/28/2012 3:40 PM ET
By Lou DiPietro
The Minnesota Twins released Tsuyoshi Nishioka on Friday, cutting ties with the Japanese infielder after two disappointing seasons.

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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