TSUYOSHI NISHIOKA is here!!!
Earlier today Tsuyoshi and his wife (a Japanese model) touched down at MSP international with at least a dozen Japanese media members in tow (who conveniently knew how to speak both Japanese and English). American reporters say that Japanese reporters told them that when Nishioka arrived here, he said, “I’m cold.”
But he also said, “I’m very excited to be here. I already have my number picked out.” (Nishioka was number 7 in Japan, so he will be taking on a new number). Although not officially confirmed by the Twins, Nishioka and many outside sources have confirmed his contract with Minnesota. Sources say the Twins will officially announce the signing tomorrow or Saturday.
Nishioka, 26 years old, was the Japanese batting champion in 2010 for the Chiba Lotte Marines, and has won the Japanese equivalent of the Golden Glove at Second Base and Short Stop. Tsuyoshi has expressed a great desire to play for the Twins.
A friend sent me this Asahi news article with information about Tsuyoshi. Unfortunately it's all in Japanese. However, using Google Translate I think I was able to discern that the article says Tsuyoshi will be examined Friday the 17th, with a press conference afterward. (There's also ads underneath the article with a links to buy MLB tickets! Yes!!)
After searching characters from the article sent to me, I've found many other Japanese news articles with some more information. This article seems to indicate Tsuyoshi knows the bloggers are weary of him because he is unproven, but he is determined to change that and impress the fans.
This article seems to indicate Tsuyoshi saw the video of the Metrodome roof collapse and he had some concern over the cold. It also says that Tsuyoshi was always aware Joe Mauer had number 7, and that he seems to think getting a new number on a new team isn't a big deal. (The accompanying picture proves that he does in fact have a very hot model wife).
In this article, Tsuyoshi apparently says that he thinks the biggest adjustment for him will be playing on natural grass. All the teams play on turf in Japan.
This article says that when Nishioka asked about the Twins and was told the Twins are contenders almost every year, Nishioka was very excited. It also talks a lot about how Nishioka will likely face Boston Red Sox Pitcher Matsuzaka in his first exhibition game as a Twin in spring training. Matsuzaka says he is excited for the Japanese matchup. The article also includes a quote from "Gadenhaia director," something about battling tails off.
And HERE is a video of Tsuyoshi arriving at Minneapolis-St. Paul International. Some idiot asks Tsuyoshi a question in English. The video also shows pictures of all the snow, and Tsuyoshi was surprised by everything being so white. There are also lots of bewildered Minnesotans in the background wondering what the hell is going on.
THIS IS SO FUN! Do I really get to pseudo translate Japanese news articles for the next three years?
UPDATE UPDATE UPDATE:
This Japanese news site is now reporting the deal is final and the press conference will be held tomorrow at 4pm. Let us see how well Japanese reporters and Google translate actually work.