Twins send Nishioka to Triple-A to start season

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FORT MYERS, Fla. (AP) -- The Minnesota Twins have assigned struggling infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka to Triple-A Rochester in hopes that the Japanese import can find his game in the minor leagues.

Nishioka was hitting .240 in nine games this spring. After a difficult first season in the United States last year, Nishioka has looked no more comfortable at the plate or in the field with the Twins this spring.

He was a five-time All-Star in Japan and a much-hyped addition when the Twins signed him to a three-year, $9.25 million contract before last season. But after breaking his leg early in the season, Nishioka looked overwhelmed as he tried to keep up with the speed of the game in the American League.

He hit .226 with only five doubles in 68 games last season.