Twins win rights to Tsuyoshi Nishioka

The Minnesota Twins have won the right to negotiate with 26-year-old infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka on a major league contract, Nishioka's Japanese League team announced Friday.

The Chiba Lotte Marines were notified of the highest bidder following Wednesday's deadline and revealed Friday that the Twins won the bid. Lotte did not disclose the amount, but the Star Tribune of Minneapolis reported the Twins' bid was around $5 million.

Nishioka led Japan's Pacific League with a .346 batting average this season and had 206 hits, becoming the first Pacific League player to get 200 hits since Ichiro Suzuki. He led the Marines to this year's Japan Series championship.

"I feel honored to be bid by MLB club and am extremely excited," Nishioka was quoted as saying Friday. "I appreciate that Chiba Lotte gave me this opportunity."

The Twins have 30 days to work out a deal with Nishioka. If no agreement is reached, the Marines will not receive the reported $5 million fee.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.