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 defense 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, 28, 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 fulfill 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; he’s likely to find an interested team 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 RBI in 392 at-bats. He played in 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.
BRADEN BREAKS BAD
Oakland A’s pitcher Dallas Braden yelled at the Stockton, Calif., police chief while carrying a bat during an anti-crime rally in his hometown but won’t be punished.
Braden began shouting at the chief about the city’s crime woes. At one point, Chief Eric Jones told Braden he would be escorted out if he didn’t wait his turn to speak.
Stockton filed for bankruptcy this year and has experienced a surge in homicides.
Braden, who said he brought the bat to protect himself, later told a TV station he was recently attacked in his car, and his grandmother was robbed. He has put his house up for sale, he said.
“Arm yourself or get out,” Braden said. “It’s the Wild West. The boys in blue, they’re outgunned.”
A’s spokesman Bob Rose told the Oakland Tribune the team had no comment and Braden would not be in trouble.
Braden has been sidelined following shoulder surgery.
Omar Vizquel, who is retiring at the end of the season, has apologized to his Toronto Blue Jays teammates for telling the Toronto Sun the ballclub wasn’t doing enough to correct repeated mistakes by its players. Manager John Farrell was not pleased with comments from the 45-year-old former Mariners infielder. … An MRI revealed a mild cervical strain in the right shoulder of Rangers right-hander Mike Adams, who will be sidelined indefinitely. … Pirates second baseman Neil Walker is going to miss the rest of the season because of lower back soreness.