Thanks A Lot, Nick Swisher
Minnesota Twins fans who were looking forward to seeing Tsuyoshi Nishioka's Target Field debut will have to wait for a lot longer than today's home opener.
In the seventh inning during yesterday's game, the Twins second baseman and former Japanese batting champ was standing firm on second base when Yankees right fielder Nick Swisher attempted to break up a double play and took a hard slide... right into Nishioka's firmly planted left leg. Nishioka was carried off the field and it was later ruled that he had fractured his fibula. Ouch.
Nobody is blaming Swisher for playing dirty. Twins skipper Ron Gardenhire was quoted as saying "Swisher's a clean player. It was a good slide. That's not an issue at all." And Nishioka himself called the slide a "professional play." Right now the bigger question is why in the hell Nishioka didn't jump out of the way.
Tsuyoshi Nishioka was one of the players that fans were most looking forward to seeing this season. During the offseason, he signed a 3 year, $9 million contract with an option for 2014. In his last season with the Chiba Lotte Marines, he won the Japanese Pacific League batting title, hitting .346, and he stole 22 bases.
For now, Nishioka has been placed on the 15 day disabled list, and the super badass Luke Hughes had been called up from triple-A Rochester. Hughes was in a heated battle with Matt Tolbert and Trevor Plouffe during spring training this year. While fighting for the infield utility spot, he batted .246, had six bombs, and 15 RBI. He only had one fielding error and helped turn a few double plays too.
Here's hoping for a speedy recovery for Nishi and that Hughes continues his spring awesomeness in his absence.