Nishioka optioned to Triple-A; lineup vs. Red Sox

FORT MYERS, Fla. — The Twins made a slew of roster cuts this morning with the most notable being the decision to option infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka to Triple-A Rochester.

Nishioka, 27, hit .240/.269/.320 in nine games this spring, but never looked comfortable at the plate or in the field.

The decision to option Nishioka this early in camp is somewhat of a surprise, especially given the fact that he’s in the second year of a three-year deal worth $9.25 million.

Nishioka, though, took the demotion in stride, saying he plans on working hard to get another chance with the Twins.

“It’s definitely tough to swallow but it’s not like it’s getting baseball taken away from me,” Nishioka said through translator Ryo Shinkawa. “I came from Japan for a challenge at this in this country. So I’m just going to not give up and look for the opportunity to get back up here.”

Asked what he was told by manager Ron Gardenhire to work on down in the Minors, Nishioka said, “To slow the game down and be back to my old self when I was playing in Japan.”

Nishioka was a five-time All-Star in Japan and won a batting title in his last season there in ’10 while helping lead the Chiba Lotte Marines to the Japan Series title.

But he struggled last season with the Twins, hitting just .226/.278/.249 with five doubles in 68 games. He also made 12 errors in the field, including 10 at shortstop and two at second base.

He was bothered by injuries, as he suffered a broken left fibula when the Yankees’ Nick Swisher slid into him while trying to break up a double play at second base on April 7 that forced him to miss 59 games. He also missed time late in the year with a strained right oblique, and played in his last game of the season on Sept. 9 as a result.

Other Twins optioned to Triple-A Rochester this morning included reliever Carlos Gutierrez and outfielder Rene Tosoni. Those reassigned to Minor League camp were relievers Jason Bulger, Luis Perdomo, Daryl Thompson, Esmerling Vasquez, P.J. Walters; catchers Chris Herrmann and Dan Rohlfing; infielder Aaron Bates and outfielder Wilkin Ramirez.

Twins (10-8):
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, 1B
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Josh Willingham, RF
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Ryan Doumit, C
8. Ben Revere, LF
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

RHP Jason Marquis

Twins reserves: J.R. Towles, Danny Lehmann, Joe Benson, Matt Carson, Brian Dinkelman, Chris Parmelee, Sean Burroughs

Twins pitchers: Terry Doyle, Alex Burnett, Jeff Manship, Kyle Waldrop, Jared Burton, Anthony Swarzak

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