Nishioka decided to forego the rest of his contract
Ichiro Suzuki has a chance to enter the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown and Hideki Matsui was a significant part of the New York Yankees lineup for several seasons. Akinori Iwamura had two solid years with the Tampa Bay Rays before injuries derailed his career. Tsuyoshi Nishioka was not as fortunate as his aforementioned Japanese countrymen during his Major League tenure.
On Friday, the Minnesota Twins announced that they released the 28-year-old middle infielder at his request, according to MLB.com.
In 2010, the Twins submitted a $5.3 million bid and won the rights to negotiate with Nishioka, who signed a three-year, $9.25 million contract. In the sixth game of his Major League career last season, he broke his left leg during a collision at second base and hit just .226 with a .249 slugging percentage and a .527 OPS in 240 plate appearances and 68 games.
This year, he batted .245 in 84 games at Triple-A Rochester and was 0-for-12 with the Twins during an August call-up that saw him commit two errors in three games.
The five-time All-Star and three-time Gold Glove winner in Japan with the Chiba Lotte Marines was owed $3 million in 2013 but decided to forego the rest of his contract. The Twins had a $4 million team option and a $250,000 buyout on Nishioka for 2014.
“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..”