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Updated: March 19th, 2012 8:02am
Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Rene Tosoni among big round of Twins cuts

Tsuyoshi Nishioka, Rene Tosoni among big round of Twins cuts

by Tom Pelissero
1500ESPN.com
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Tsuyoshi Nishioka experiment is over, at least for now.

In the Minnesota Twins' second round of spring cuts, the Japanese infielder was optioned to Triple-A Rochester early Monday morning, along with right-handed pitcher Carlos Gutierrez and outfielder Rene Tosoni.

Nishioka, 27, arrived with much fanfare after the Twins won a bidding war and posted roughly $5.3 million for the rights to negotiate with him. But a broken leg last April 7 derailed his rookie season and Nishioka seemed to take another step back in this year's spring training.

He is guaranteed $3 million this season and next.

"It's definitely tough to swallow, but it's not like I'm getting baseball taken away from me," Nishioka said through his interpreter, Ryo Shinkawa. "I came from Japan to challenge in this country, so I'm just going to not give up and look for the opportunity to be back up."

When asked what he needed to improve to be recalled to the major leagues, Nishioka said, "To slow the game down and to be back to my old self I was playing (like) in Japan."

Nishioka was hitting just .240/.269/.320 in 25 spring at-bats, and he looked less comfortable at the plate and in the field than he did at this time last March. In 221 regular-season at-bats last year Nishioka hit just .226/.278/.249 with only five extra-base hits, and video scouts at Baseball Info Solutions rated him as one of the worst defensive middle infielders in the major leagues.

Nine other players were reassigned to the minor league camp: right-handed pitchers Jason Bulger, Luis Perdomo, Daryl Thompson, Esmerling Vasquez and P.J. Walters; catchers Chris Herrmann and Dan Rohlfing; infielder Aaron Bates; outfielder Wilkin Ramirez.

The cuts leave the Twins with 45 players -- 21 pitchers, six catchers, 11 infielders and seven outfielders -- in the big-league camp.

Tom Pelissero is Senior Editor and columnist for 1500ESPN.com. He hosts from 6 to 8 p.m. weeknights and co-hosts from 10 a.m. to noon Sundays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Tom | @TomPelissero | Tom Pelissero
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