Tsuyoshi Nishioka on track to return to Twins next week

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From LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune comes word that Tsuyoshi Nishioka has been promoted to Triple-A Rochester to continue his minor league rehab assignment.

Nishioka went 4-for-12 with a stolen base in four games this past week at High-A Fort Myers. He’s expected to play three games for Rochester before returning to the Twins’ starting lineup in the middle of next week. Possibly as early as Wednesday.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire confirmed Saturday to John Shipley of the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Nishioka is going to play shortstop upon returning with Alexi Casilla sliding over to second base. Nishioka played shortstop successfully while in Japan and should have no trouble picking it back up.

The 26-year-old from Osaka has made just 26 major league plate appearances this year as a rookie. He’s been on the disabled list since the second week of the regular season with a fractured left fibula.

Blue Jays sign Michael Saunders

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The Blue Jays have signed outfielder Michael Saunders to a minor-league deal, per a club announcement.

Saunders, of course, played for the Blue Jays in 2015 and 2016, putting up a line of .250/.336/.461 in 594 plate appearances. It was his good play in the first half of 2016, in fact, which earned him an All-Star spot and, presumably, made the Phillies think he was worth the $9 million deal they gave him over the offseason. That didn’t work out, as he hit .205/.257/.360 over 61 games and was released last week.

The Phillies will pay the rest of that $9 million. The Jays will see if he has anything in the tank to help them out.

Giants closer Mark Melancon is heading to the disabled list once again

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The Giants have placed closer Mark Melancon on the 10-day disabled list with a right pronator strain.

This is the same injury that sent him to the disabled list last month. He came back from that quickly, but it can’t be great that this is happening again. You have to assume he’ll miss more time given the recurrence of trouble. He’s going to get an MRI too. Sam Dyson is expected to serve as the Giants’ closer while Melancon is sidelined.

Melancon has a 4.35 ERA and 11 saves in 22 appearances this year. He signed a four-year, $62 million deal with San Francisco last December.