NEW YORK -- Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka suffered a fractured left fibula Thursday on a take-out slide by the Yankees Nick Swisher.
X-Rays taken at Yankee Stadium showed the fracture just below Nishioka’s left knee, according to Twins manager Ron Gardenhire, who added that the team won’t have an estimate for how much time Nishioka will miss until team doctors can evaluate him in Minnesota.
The Twins placed Nishioka on the 15-day disabled list, with infielder Luke Hughes promoted from Class AAA Rochester to take his roster spot. Hughes is expected to be in uniform for Friday's home opener at Target Field.
“I wanted to show my play in front of the Minnesota fans, and it’s unfortunate that I won’t be able to do that," Nishioka said through a translator.
Nishioka, Gardenhire and other Twins said they felt Swisher made a clean slide into second base, trying to break up a potential double play ball hit by Mark Teixeira in the seventh inning.
“He was just breaking up the double play; no issues there,” Gardenhire said. “[Nishioka] just got caught a little flat-footed. Swisher’s a clean player. That’s just a good baseball slide, trying to break up a double play. There’s no intent there.”
Swisher went to the X-Ray room to apologize to Nishioka.
“The first thing I said was, ‘I’m sorry, man. I thought you were going to jump,” Swisher said. “And he said, ‘It was my fault. I should have gotten out of the way.’ I was just trying to break up a double play. I didn't mean to do that. Especially with a guy like that, just trying to make his mark over here.”
Nishioka, 26, who won a Japanese Pacific League batting title last year for the Chiba Lotte Marines, signed a three-year, $9.25 million deal with the Twins this offseason. In six games, he has batted .208 (5-for-24) with one double, two RBI, two walks and eight RBI.
Gardenhire said it’s too early to say how the Twins will replace Nishioka at second base or in the No. 2 spot of the batting order. Matt Tolbert entered as Nishioka’s replacement at second base on Thursday.
“I don’t think there’s ever a good time for injuries,” Gardenhire said. “I would love to see him back out there playing; that’s why we signed him, he’s going to be a really good player. This is a minor setback. We’ll get him well and go from here.”
Hate to see this intriguing young man go down, and hope he recovers well. Baseball does take strange bounces, and it will also be interesting to see how Luke Hughes performs in this emergency callup. The Aussie did so well in spring training that the Twins hated to send him down when they broke camp. Well, here's your chance, Mate.