Tsuyoshi Nishioka hasn’t played since going 0-for-12 with a half-dozen fielding mistakes in last week’s three-game series against the Indians and not surprisingly the Twins have optioned him back to Triple-A.
The move was made to clear a roster spot for Trevor Plouffe’s return from the disabled list, as the slugging third baseman has missed the past three weeks with thumb problems.
Nishioka was as bad as a major leaguer could possibly look and it’s unclear why the Twins bothered to call him up in the first place considering he was awful at Triple-A this season and terrible in the majors last season. Whatever the case, we’ve probably seen the last of him in a Twins uniform and perhaps the last of him in the majors, although by optioning Nishioka to the minors instead of designating him for assignment the Twins have left him on the 40-man roster.
Nishioka has hit .215 with zero homers and a .503 OPS in 71 games for the Twins while making 15 errors defensively. He’s owed $3 million next season as part of a $15 million investment by Minnesota.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.