Called up from Triple-A Sunday for the first time this year, the Twins’ most expensive middle infielder, Tsuyoshi Nishioka, made his season debut Monday. And the only nice thing that can be said about it is that the Twins beat the Indians 14-3 anyway.
While his teammates were racking up four homers, 14 hits and five walks, Nishioka went 0-for-5 and committed two errors at second base.
Nishioka was hitting just .245/.309/.301 before being summoned from Rochester, so very little is expected at this point. He had one homer in 311 at-bats, and he was caught stealing in six of his 12 attempts.
With the 0-for-5 today, Nishioka is hitting .221/.273/.243 with no homers in 226 at-bats as a major leaguer, with metrics that suggest he might be even worse defensive than offensively. The Twins still owe him another $3.25 million after this season, but it’d be a surprise if he’s still in the organization next spring. A return to Japan might be for the best.
Alex Rodriguez’s post-retirement renaissance continues apace. After starring as a studio host for Fox’s playoff coverage over the past couple of years, A-Rod is about to be named to, arguably, televised baseball’s top job: color commentary in ESPN’s Sunday Night Baseball booth.
Michael McCarthy of The Sporting News is hearing that ESPN is going to give the gig, vacated by Aaron Boone by virtue of his hiring by the Yankees, to Rodriguez. There he’ll join Jessica Mendoza and whoever they get to replace play-by-play man Dan Shulman, who chose to step back from the Sunday night job following last season. This, by the way, marks the second time A-Rod has taken over Aaron Boone’s job given that he replaced Boone at third base for the Yankees in 2004.
The twist: A-Rod is likely to keep his Fox postseason job too. While some broadcasters work for multiple networks, it’s pretty rare for Fox to allow its talents to work for competitors like that. Apparently they believe keeping A-Rod — who five years ago was one of the most despised figures in baseball — is worth it. What a difference a few years makes.
In other news, Alex Rodriguez is likely to be shunned mightily by the current crop of BBWAA voters when he hits the Hall of Fame ballot in a couple of years. At the rate he’s going, though, their successors will put him in Cooperstown via the Ford Frick Award sometime in the 2040s.