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.
ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick reports that the Mariners are among the teams that have contacted the Reds about outfielder Jay Bruce. The Mariners enter play Wednesday 51-48, six games out of first place in the AL West and 4.5 games out of the second AL Wild Card slot. Adding an impact bat like Bruce could help in their effort to reach the postseason.
Norichika Aoki and Seth Smith have handled the bulk of the playing time in left field. While Smith has hit well, Aoki has not. Bruce came into Wednesday’s game against the Giants batting .271/.324/.567 with 24 home runs and a league-best 78 RBI.
Bruce can become a free agent after the season if his controlling team declines his $13 million club option for the 2017 season by paying him a $1 million buyout. If he’s traded mid-season, his new team won’t be able to make him a qualifying offer, so the club option may be more enticing than it looks at first glance.
A third-inning two-run home run by Adam Rosales off of R.A. Dickey put the Padres up 2-0, but it also helped the Padres tie a National League record. The Padres have homered in 25 consecutive games, matching the 1998 Braves, the 1994 Tigers, and the 1941 Yankees. The major league record is 27, set by the 2002 Rangers.
The Padres hit three in total on Wednesday in an 8-4 victory against the Blue Jays. One of those dingers was an eighth-inning solo shot by rookie Alex Dickerson, who has now homered in four consecutive games himself. The one he hit on Monday is worth watching, as it got into the upper deck at the Rogers Centre.
As the Padres recently traded Melvin Upton, Jr. to the Jays, Dickerson is likely going to see regular playing time. That’s especially true if he keeps hitting like this.