In an expected move, the Twins on Friday released outfielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka after two rough seasons. What happened next, however, was totally unexpected, at least in this cynical age.
Accepting blame for his failures at the plate and on defense, Nishioka did the honorable thing: He waived his right to his $3 million salary for next season and a $250,000 buyout. He refused the money because he was disappointed in the way he has performed in his two seasons in the States, the ballplayer said in a statement.
"I take full responsibility for my performance, which was below my own expectations," he said. "At this time, I have made the decision that it is time to part ways. I have no regrets and know that only through struggle can a person grow stronger."
Definitely old school, and definitely sound reasoning.
He spent most of 2012 with the triple-A Rochester (N.Y.) Red Wings, hitting .258 with two home runs and 34 RBIs in 392 at-bats. He played in only three games for the Twins this season, making two errors and several other mistakes in the field and going 0 for 12 with one sacrifice fly.
That was a far cry from his performance in his native Japan, where he was the Nippon Professional Baseball batting champion in 2010, hitting .346 for the Chiba Lotte Marines, and won the equivalent of a Gold Glove.
Signed to a three-year, $9.25 million contract before the 2011 season, Nishioka broke his lower left leg just five games into his rookie year when he stayed too close to second base while trying to turn a double play, and Yankees slugger Nick Swisher slid into him. He returned from the injury that June but never found his rhythm.
Giants closer Brian Wilson is scheduled to throw Oct. 19 for the first time since having Tommy John surgery, and the confident righty promised to be at full strength by spring.
"I'd say that I'm way ahead of the game," he said Thursday before a light workout. "I don't think that there would be any setbacks. I will be available opening day."
The he cracked wise.
"Unfortunately, I did get hurt in April, but fortunately I did get hurt in April," he said. "I have a whole year, so I'd have a regular spring training like everybody else."
Former Phillies manager Terry Francona has joined Sandy Alomar Jr. as a candidate to manage the Indians, general manager Chris Antonetti confirmed Friday.
Alomar, who was named interim manager after Manny Acta was fired, said that if he gets hired permanently, it would be his dream job.
"I went to Chicago and then bounced around after leaving the Indians, but I was never treated the way I was here," said Alomar, a local favorite.