On November 26, the Twins won the bidding for Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka. This means that the Twins have until December 26 to sign him and no other team can sign him. On December 9, the Twins traded infielders J.J. Hardy and Brendan Harris to Baltimore for two minor league pitchers. The Twins probably made this trade because they are close to signing Nishioka, a speedy infielder who can play both second base and shortstop. He also won the Japanese batting title last season. Since many people probably don’t know much about Japanese baseball, I will tell a little bit about it.
Baseball was started in Japan in 1872 by Horace Wilson. The first Japanese baseball team was established in 1878 and was called the Shimbashi Athletic Club. A team from Tokyo University played the first ever recorded international baseball game in Asia in 1896, beating an American team from the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club. The final score was 29 to 4!
The professional baseball association is called Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). Like in America, there are two leagues called the Pacific League (where Nishioka plays) and the Central League that have six teams each. But a Japanese baseball game lasts 12 innings. Except in playoffs, games that are tied after 12 innings are ties. For more on Japanese baseball, click here.
I hope the Twins can sign Nishioka. He sounds like a good player and the Twins have never had a Japanese player. For more on Nishioka, click here.
Written by: Sam Graves