Twins' Tsuyoshi Nishioka breaks fibula

Updated: April 8, 2011, 12:03 PM ET
By Matt Ehalt | Special to ESPNNewYork.com

NEW YORK -- Minnesota Twins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka suffered a broken left fibula Thursday when Yankees outfielder Nick Swisher crashed into him while breaking up a double play.

With the Yankees leading 4-3 with one out and Swisher on first base in the bottom of the seventh, Mark Teixeira hit a grounder to Twins third baseman Danny Valencia, who threw to Nishioka at second. Nishioka recorded the out at second and threw to first, but Swisher slid well to the left of the bag and directly into Nishioka's left leg while trying to break up the double play, hitting the Twins second baseman right below the left kneecap. Swisher was within reach of the base on the slide and successfully broke up the double play.

Swisher asked Nishioka if he was OK before leaving the field, but the Twins' Japanese import didn't get up right away and eventually had to be helped off the field. Nishioka said via his translator that he wanted to get up and continue the game but wasn't able to, finishing 0-for-4 on the day before being replaced by Matt Tolbert.

Nishioka was placed on the 15-day disabled list, and he will be examined by Dr. John Steubs on Friday in Minnesota as the Twins determine how long he will be out. Nishioka said he will try to return from the injury soon as possible. The Twins called up infielder Luke Hughes from Triple-A Rochester.

[+] EnlargeTsuyoshi Nishioka
AP Photo/Kathy WillensTwins second baseman Tsuyoshi Nishioka broke his left fibula when Nick Swisher attempted to break up a double play in the seventh inning Thursday.

As soon as Swisher heard that Nishioka was in the X-ray room in Yankee Stadium, Swisher raced over to make sure that he got a chance to talk to Nishioka.

"I was glad I got a chance to talk to him and it definitely eased my mind," Swisher said. "He told me, 'Hey, it's not your fault, don't be mad.' I know I play hard, but you don't ever want to go in there and try and hurt somebody, so for myself, it makes me feel a lot better and I was glad I was able to talk to him."

While Swisher's slide could've been seen as a dirty play, Nishioka, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire and his teammates had no problem with the slide after the Yankees' 4-3 win over the Twins in the series finale.

"It's a professional play by Swisher and he didn't do anything bad," Nishioka said through his translator in the locker room after the game.

Nishioka signed a three-year, $9.25 million deal with the Twins in December after previously playing in Japan.

"It's not a good time for him, he's pretty sad," Gardnehire said. "All the guys were there and we feel bad for him because we know how much he wants to play, [but] he'll be back. It's just going to take a little bit of time to heal but he'll be back."

Gardenhire added about Swisher's slide: "Just breaking up a double play. No issues there. [Nishioka] just got caught a little flat-footed and Swisher's a clean player and that's just a good baseball slide trying to break up a double play. There's no issue there."

While Nishioka's day did not end well, he commended Swisher for coming to talk to him in the X-ray room after the game.

"He didn't need to do that," Nishioka said via translation. "I appreciate it. Being the same athlete, I appreciated that he took the time to come over. Swisher didn't do anything that he needed to come over to apologize [for]."

Matt Ehalt is a regular contributor to ESPNNewYork.com. Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

Matt Ehalt

ESPN New York contributor

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