When Tsuyoshi Nishioka was recalled prior to the series in Cleveland with the Indians, we thought it was less due to earning the opportunity and more because the Twins wanted to get a look at their investment since they needed another infielder anyway. Most of us weren't under any illusions, but Nishioka had been more productive in Triple-A in the weeks prior and, honestly, what was there to lose?
Suffice it to say that Nishi's return to The Bigs wasn't what anyone really wanted. He was clearly playing with the pressure of his future on his shoulders, and it showed. He went 0-for-5 with two fielding errors in game one, did slightly better in game two by drawing a walk, not committing an error, and driving in a run on a sacrifice fly, then went 0-for-4 in game three of the series while committing a throwing error and losing a ball in the sun.
After an off day on Thursday Ron Gardenhire said he was just going to put the players on the field that gave the team the best chance to win, which was a thinly veiled code for "I'm not playing Tsuyoshi Nishioka". Nishi didn't see the field over the weekend, and then was returned to Triple-A yesterday to make room for Trevor Plouffe.
Sometimes there comes a point where it is in the club's best interest to pay a player to not play for them. I can't help thinking that after his most recent stint, even if it was just three games and 14 hitless plate appearances long, that this point is approaching for the Twins and Nishioka.
It sounds like the Twins might agree. Terry Ryan is on his way to catch the Red Wings in person.