For the third consecutive outing, Twins righthander Samuel Deduno didn't last longer than four innings. This time, it wasn't pitching that led to his removal.

Deduno departed Wednesday after five outs because of left eye irritation. The Twins said he had been bothered by it in recent days but was checked out and declared ready to pitch. But Deduno was having trouble catching throws back to the mound from catcher Ryan Doumit.

"They were throwing the ball back to him from first base and from the catcher, and it just looked like he was kind of dodging away from the ball," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "As I'm walking out, the trainer says, 'There's no way I'm leaving him out there because he had his eyes checked over the last couple days and he says he's fine, but that's not fine.'

"He didn't see fine when he was out there, and there's no way we were leaving him out on the baseball field with that."

It took a while to get Deduno, 6-5 with a 4.44 ERA, off the field.

"He did not want to come out of the game, as we could all see," Gardenhire said. "I could not get his glove open to get the ball, even. He kept saying he was fine, but if you just watch with your eyes, you could see him flinching from balls, and that's not good enough. I will not leave a player out there for that situation."

Deduno will have an MRI.

Mound moxie

Catchers Drew Butera, Doumit and Joe Mauer all have strong arms. But they have thrown out 25 percent, 22 percent and 14 percent, of runners attempting to steal. Anything over 30 percent is considered good.

Part of the problem has been pitchers being slow to the plate or unable to hold runners on bases. The Twins also feel that some of them have been so focused on trying to make good pitches they have made themselves vulnerable to stolen bases.

According to baseball, baserunners are 8-for-9 against Deduno and 14-for-18 against Scott Diamond, and they were 13-for-15 against Francisco Liriano.

That's why it was noteworthy on Tuesday when Mauer threw out two baserunners.

"[Esmerling Vasquez] did a great job holding the ball, changing his delivery times, his looks over, throwing over on his own," Mauer said.

New home for Nishi?

Tsuyoshi Nishioka is headed into the final year of a three-year, $9.25 million contract that's going down as one of the worst investments in Twins history. Perhaps they will look for a way to cut ties with Nishioka.

There are indications Japanese clubs would be interested if he became available. Both the Hanshin Tigers and Seibu Lions might lose their shortstops to free agency.

To cut ties with Nishioka, the Twins would have to reach a settlement on the $3 million he's owed next season. The Twins have yet to discuss buying out Nishioka, but that option likely will be brought up in the offseason.

No. 1

Twins rookie Chris Herr- mann notched his first big-league hit on an infield single in the ninth inning. Herrmann had been hitless in 10 at-bats.