Twins release Nishioka

The Minnesota Twins granted infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka his unconditional release on Friday.

The 28-year-old was cut loose with one year remaining on a three-year contract signed in December of 2010 -- a deal which was set to pay him $3 million next season with a $250,000 buyout.

Nishioka failed to record a hit in 12 at-bats, but knocked in a run in three appearances for the Twins this season. He spent the majority of the year at Triple-A Rochester, hitting .258 with two home runs, 18 doubles and 34 RBI in 101 games.

"I would like to thank the Twins organization for helping me fulfill my dream of playing in Major League Baseball," Nishioka said in a statement. "I take full responsibility for my performance, which was below my own expectations. At this time, I have made the decision that it is time to part ways. I have no regrets and know that only through struggle can a person grow stronger. I appreciate all the support the team and the fans in Minnesota and Rochester have shown me. Arigatou gozaimasu."

His 2011 campaign was cut short after suffering a broken leg in a collision with Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher. In 68 games before the setback, he batted just .226 with 19 RBI and 14 runs scored.

A native of Osaka, Nishioka played for Japan when it won the inaugural World Baseball Classic in 2006.