Twins demote Nishioka, say they haven't given up on him

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 14, 2012 - 7:24 AM

Tsuyoshi Nishioka

Photo: Tony Gutierrez, Associated Press - Ap

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The Twins haven't given up on Tsuyoshi Nishioka, permanently, at least not yet.

They optioned him to Class AAA Rochester on Monday to open a roster spot for third baseman Trevor Plouffe, who returned from the disabled list after being out since July 20 because of a bruised right thumb.

Nishioka, who is in the second year of a $9.25 million contract, went 0-for-12 and made three errors in last week's series at Cleveland before spending the next three games on the bench.

Nishioka had batted .298 in July for Rochester, and the reports were positive on his play at second base.

"He'd done everything they'd asked down there," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I think he just came up here and whether it's trying too hard or getting too excited is anybody's guess, but I think we all saw the performance on the field wasn't very good."

Major league teams can expand their active rosters on Sept. 1, and the Twins haven't ruled out bringing Nishioka back.

The regular season ends for Rochester on Sept. 3, and the Red Wings entered Monday four games back in the wild-card race.

General Manager Terry Ryan will be in Rochester soon to make evaluations on potential September call-ups.

"Let's see what [Nishioka] looks like at Triple-A, compared to what we just saw here," Ryan said. "I'm hoping it's two different guys. So if that would be the case, we need to settle him down. It's just a matter of confidence."

Span update

Denard Span said his right collarbone area was sore a day after he landed awkwardly and jammed his shoulder trying to make a catch in center field against Tampa Bay.

"I heard it pop when I landed; that's what scared me initially," Span said. "But thank God, I went and got the X-rays and everything was negative. I'm just day-to-day. I woke up feeling somewhat better than [Sunday]. The range of motion was better."

Dozier follow up

Gardenhire and shortstop Brian Dozier studied video of the play on which Tampa Bay scored the go-ahead run on Sunday, and Gardenhire showed the rookie that there were better options than throwing to first base and conceding the run.

"His thoughts were good, solid," Gardenhire said. "But I don't think they went according to what you see on the video and what everybody's thoughts were outside watching.

"I thought it was supposed to be a double-play ball or [a throw] home, or something. I thought we had time. I got the video. I saw where the runner was at, and I wanted him to see that, more than anything else."

Gardenhire said it was a good conversation.

Etc.

Matt Capps (right rotator cuff weakness) had another MRI exam and was cleared to ramp up his strengthening exercises.

• Major League Baseball announced that Twins minor league catcher Michael Quesada (from rookie-level Elizabethton) was suspended 50 games after testing positive for methylhexaneamine.

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