Twins scheduled to meet with Nishioka’s agent

The Twins
were scheduled to meet on Monday with Rick Thurman, the agent from the Beverly Hills Sports Council for Japanese
infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka.

The Twins have been in contact with
Thurman since it was announced they had posted the winning bid for
Nishioka’s exclusive negotiating rights on Nov. 26. Twins general
manager Bill Smith said last week that the two sides would likely talk
again this week as they try to make progress on a deal. The club has
until Dec. 26 to work out a contract with the switch-hitting infielder or
they will have their approximately $5 million posting fee given back to
them from the Chiba Lotte Marines.

Indications are that Nishioka, the reigning Japanese Pacific League batting champion, is seeking a three-year
deal. So far the expectation has been that the Twins will get a deal
worked out with Nishioka before the Dec. 26 deadline. But the club could
try to get something done well before that date if they are serious
about trading shortstop J.J. Hardy in the near future. A number of teams
are reportedly interested in Hardy, but it seems unlikely that the club
would move the shortstop before they are certain that they’ll get a
deal done with Nishioka.

— Kelly Thesier

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