Tsuyoshi Nishioka was released by the Twins last week after agreeing to forfeit the remaining $3.25 million on his contract and now Sankei Sports in Japan reports that he’s already “agreed in principle” to a deal with the Hanshin Tigers.
Nishioka was a massive flop for the Twins, hitting .215 with zero power and terrible defense at both shortstop and second base, but in 2010 he was a .346-hitting, Gold Glove-winning star in Japan and is still just 28 years old.
No word yet on how much Nishioka’s deal in Japan would be worth, but it won’t be surprising if he recoups that $3.25 million and then some in returning home. He played eight seasons for the Chiba Lotte Marines before signing a three-year, $9.25 million contract with Minnesota that also required the Twins spending another $5.3 million on his negotiating rights.
Rangers outfielder Shin-Soo Choo hit one for the history books on Saturday as he fueled the team’s 4-3 win over the Royals with a walk-off home run in the 10th. The homer — a leadoff solo shot off of a Kevin McCarthy fastball — was Choo’s eighth of the year and 176th of his career, giving him the edge over Hideki Matsui for the most MLB home runs by an Asian-born player.
Exactly what happened to the ball afterwards is still a bit of a mystery, though the Rangers put out a PSA after the game’s dramatic finish. It doesn’t look like anyone has stepped forward with the ball just yet.
Choo, 35, is off to a solid start this season. While he’s nowhere near the .276-average, 3.4+ fWAR totals of years past, he’s batting a strong .259/.359/.423 with eight home runs, two stolen bases and a .782 OPS in 234 plate appearances so far.
His extra-inning blast gave the Rangers the necessary advantage for their 22nd win of the year. Had it not been for Bartolo Colon‘s three-run snafu in the third inning, the right-hander would have joined Choo with a historical milestone of his own: the most career pitcher wins by a Dominican-born player, with 243.