Despite need for another surgery, Zumaya says he will try to return

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Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine greeted former player Tsuyoshi Nishioka on Sunday. Valentine managed Nishioka for the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

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FORT MYERS, FLA. — The Twins were informed by the agent for Joel Zumaya that the righthander decided to have Tommy John elbow ligament replacement surgery and attempt a comeback.

The surgery will take place at the end of March and be performed by noted specialist Dr. James Andrews. Agent Don Mitchell spoke with Twins assistant GM Rob Antony on Saturday night to inform him of the decision.

Zumaya tore the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow while throwing batting practice Feb. 25. It will be the sixth surgery for Zumaya, who hasn't pitched in the majors since June 2010.

The Twins signed him to an $850,000 contract full of incentives, but because he failed to make the Opening Day roster, he will be paid only $400,000.

Valentine on Nishioka

Red Sox manager Bobby Valentine, who managed Tsuyoshi Nishioka in Japan, talked about how he warned the infielder about takeout slides at second base.

"He played second base and broke his leg,'' Valentine said before Sunday's 8-3 victory over a Twins split squad. "I came to Fort Myers last year to have dinner with him to tell him they're going to try to break his legs and tried to show him how to get out of the way because he didn't do that in Japan."

Nishioka suffered a broken leg the first week of last season when slid into by the Yankees' Nick Swisher.

"When a guy comes inside and rolls, [Nishioka] had to be out of the way,'' Valentine said. "He gave me the old, 'Ya,ya,ya, work harder, work harder. I understand, I understand.' He broke his leg.''

Nishioka was 0-for-5 vs. Boston on Sunday. Valentine spent a lot of time in Japan trying to get Nishioka to realize his talents, but the infielder's first year in the majors was a disaster, as he suffered the broken leg and batted .226.

"I had him when he was one of the worst players on the field and I had him when he was one of the best players on the field," Valentine said. "And sometimes it was within the same season."

Towles delivers

J.R. Towles, who is battling Drew Butera for a catching job, hit a tiebreaking two-run homer off Josh Lueke in the Twins' 5-3 victory over Tampa Bay in Port Charlotte, Fla.

"The wind was blowing out [to right field]," Towles said. "I think it would have been too high on a normal day."

Butera, a defensive specialist, is a career .178 hitter in the majors and .214 in the minors. Towles is a career .187 hitter in the majors, but his minor league average is .295.

Parmelee's quick start

Chris Parmelee also hit a two-run homer to right against the Rays, but it didn't need the wind. He also had two hits in Saturday's exhibition opener, so he has picked up where he left off in September, when he batted .355 with four homers and 14 RBI in 21 games.

"What happened last year was fun, but there's still a lot of work to do," Parmelee said.

On deck

Denard Span, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau and Josh Willingham are expected to be back in the lineup Monday night when the Twins play host to the Red Sox.

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