Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Tony Dejak, Associated Press

Japan won't be ignored despite Nishi

  • Article by: La VELLE E. NEAL III
  • Star Tribune
  • September 29, 2012 - 10:23 PM

The Twins plan to examine how they scouted Tsuyoshi Nishioka to make sure the same mistake isn't repeated, but they remain open as ever to signing players from Japan.

Nishioka was granted his release Friday after two lousy seasons. The Twins don't have to pay the infielder's $3 million salary for 2013 or the $250,000 buyout of his 2014 option, but it still was an expensive mistake, as it cost them $11.3 million (a $5.3 million posting fee and $6 million in salary over two seasons).

"We have to talk about what exactly the process was and why this thing didn't work," General Manager Terry Ryan said. "Some of it was the transition. Some of it could be the evaluation process. Some of it could be the competition level. We need to figure out exactly what went wrong."

But the Twins will continue to scout Japan and try to sign players they believe can help them.

"Just because one episode didn't work to anybody's liking you cannot shut that market out," Ryan said. "If there are players who are available you have to be open-minded regardless of the experience we had with Nishi. It didn't work."

Diamond gets the ball

The Twins checked with lefthander Scott Diamond to make sure he had enough gas in the tank to make his final scheduled start of the season on Wednesday in Toronto.

"He is adamant about it," manager Ron Gardenhire said.

Diamond was born in Guelph, Ontario, about 60 miles west of Toronto.

"He really wants to start," Gardenhire said. "He wants to go and pitch in Canada, which means a lot to him, and make that last start. He feels really good, and we're very comfortable with him."

Diamond has thrown 202 2/3 innings this season -- 168 in the majors and 34 2/3 with Class AAA Rochester. He hadn't thrown more than 158 2/3 innings in any previous season, so the Twins wanted to make sure he wasn't taking too big of a jump in workload.


• The Twins still have not named a starter for Tuesday in Toronto. Anthony Swarzak and Brian Duensing could be options. The Twins need a starter to replace Samuel Deduno, who is out because of eye irritation.

• Infielder Eduardo Escobar, who was hit on the left elbow by a pitch Friday, is still very sore and didn't take batting practice.

• Outfielder Josh Willingham, whose sore left shoulder might end his season at 35 home runs and 110 RBI, did not work out on the field before Saturday's game. "He's better, but he's not good enough to put out there," Ryan said. "Whether or not he plays in Toronto is questionable."

• Twins owner Jim Pohlad was on hand for batting practice before the game and spoke with Gardenhire for several minutes.

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