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Nishioka hopes to return this season

Kyodo

Hanshin Tigers second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka began rehabilitation on his injured left knee on Wednesday and said he hopes to be able to contribute to the team’s pennant chase.

The switch-hitting Nishioka, who had been batting .275 with three home runs and 28 RBIs in 82 games in the Tigers leadoff spot, had his knee checked out at the club’s minor league facility for roughly two hours.

“The competition is going to be very tough from the end of August through September,” he said. “I want to be in good form then. I want to come back and contribute this season.”

Nishioka was injured when he fouled a pitch off his knee in a July 14 game against the Yokohama BayStars. He was deactivated on Tuesday.