It looks like the biggest name that the Minnesota Twins have ever picked up in the Japanese player market will be getting a second shot to stick in Major League Baseball. The Twins announced that they would be putting Tsuyoshi Nishioka into the empty roster spot left after they traded Danny Valencia and they'll be hoping that the Japanese infielder will be able to do some damage this time around with the club:
He broke his leg one week into the 2011 season and wound up batting just .226 with a .278 on-base percentage in 68 games. He looked no better this spring and was among the Twins' first cuts.
Nishioka is a former Japanese batting champion who was given a hefty hunk of change by the Twins when they signed him, so his chance may be extended a bit as long as he doesn't find himself injured once again. If he can barely muster a .230 batting average once again though, he may find himself back in Rochester, and eventually not even on the roster, once again.
To his credit, Nishioka has improved immensely in Triple-A recently, and did well showing the team what he could do in his most recent games:
"If you want to find out something about this guy, now is the time to find out," Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said. "He had two hard-hit balls [Saturday] and made some nice defensive plays. So they're pleased with what he's done."
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