Nishioka is ready for his big day

  • Updated: February 23, 2011 - 1:56 AM

Twins infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Photo: Carlos Gonzalez, Star Tribune

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FORT MYERS, FLA. - Stall by stall, Tsuyoshi Nishioka stopped by to see his Twins teammates in the clubhouse and shake their hands.

Nishioka made the rounds before pitchers and catchers worked out Tuesday, greeting any teammates he hadn't already met as a throng of Japanese reporters filled one end of the clubhouse.

For Nishioka, it was another step before his big moment comes Wednesday -- the team's first official full squad workout.

"I feel that, from participating in this meeting, there is a family atmosphere here,'' Nishioka said through interpreter Ryo Shinkawa. "It's an honor to be a part of this from tomorrow, and I'm looking forward to participating in the practices from tomorrow."

Nishioka didn't work out Tuesday. When he has worked out, he's spent time alone on a back field at the Lee County Sports Complex while other position players worked out elsewhere. Indications are that he views Wednesday as the official start of the next chapter of his career -- and the beginning of his Twins' career.

"I was looking forward to participating in the practice starting from the 23rd on the first workout,'' he said, "so I just wanted to be in the best shape possible to start from the 23rd.''


"More excited than nervous,'' he said.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire is thinking about having an English-to-Japanese dictionary with him Wednesday. And Shinkawa will grab a glove and be on the field with Nishioka.

"I'm sure it's a very exciting moment for him,'' Gardenhire said. "It is for us.''

Health updates

• Lefthander Francisco Liriano threw in the bullpen Tuesday with few problems. The Twins had held him back a couple days after he experienced some shoulder soreness last week.

• Righthander Scott Baker will not throw live batting practice Wednesday as the club wants to take it easy with him after he had a little setback earlier this month during his comeback from offseason elbow surgery.


• Four Twins -- righthander Kyle Gibson (No. 34), outfielder Aaron Hicks (No. 45), Miguel Sano (No. 60), Joe Benson (No. 100) -- are listed in Baseball America's top 100 prospects list that will be released Wednesday.

• Delmon Young reported to camp Tuesday.


Age: 23

Position: Righthanded pitcher

1 His big pitch is a knuckle-curve that he learned when he was around 12 years old. He said it tails away from righthanded hitters.

2 He was the Twins minor league pitcher of the year in 2009.

3 After throwing 16 wild pitches in 2008, he threw just two last season.


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