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Ex-major leaguer Nishioka to join Hanshin

Kyodo

Switch-hitting infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka is set to join the Hanshin Tigers, several baseball sources told Kyodo News on Saturday.

The 28-year-old Nishioka, who walked away from the third year of his contract with the Minnesota Twins after two disappointing seasons in the majors, returns to Japan for the first time as a free agent since his move in 2011 from his former club the Lotte Marines.

The former Japanese All-Star played in only 71 games at the major-league level, posting a .215 batting average with 14 runs scored and 14 errors. He spent the majority of this past season in the minors.