The Minnesota Twins, who were awarded exclusive negotiating rights to Tsuyoshi Nishioka, envision him playing second base rather than shortstop, according to a major-league source.
The 26-year-old infielder played both positions for the Chiba Lotte Marines of the Japanese Pacific League.
Nishioka is likely to compete with Alexi Casilla for playing time at second base, the source indicated. Orlando Hudson, a Type B free agent, isn’t expected to return.
Minnesota could retain this year’s primary shortstop, J.J. Hardy, through salary arbitration. Other shortstop options are available via trade or free agency.
The 30-day period for the Twins to sign Nishioka began on Friday.
-Jon Paul Morosi