The Twins will open another roster spot Wednesday by allowing righthanded reliever Michael Tonkin to sign a contract with the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters in Japan, a major league source confirmed Tuesday.

Tonkin, who turns 28 later this month, posted a 4.43 ERA in 141 appearances over parts of the past five seasons with the Twins, but he never was able to claim an end-of-game role he was groomed for in the minors, where he racked up 65 career saves. His fastball regularly exceeds 95 mph, however, making him particularly enticing to Japanese teams.

PHIL MILLER