Twins trade Valencia, call up Nishioka

The Twins traded third baseman Danny Valencia to the Red Sox on Sunday for outfielder Jeremias Pineda. After optioning Pineda to the Gulf Coast League Twins, Minnesota called up infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka from Triple-A Rochester.

The Red Sox initially claimed Valencia off waivers, leading the Twins to then work out the trade, according to an MLB.com report. Upon acquiring Valencia, the Red Sox optioned him to Triple-A Pawtucket.

Valencia, 27, spent all of 2011 and the beginning of 2012 with the Twins before he was optioned to Triple-A Rochester on May 9. In Rochester, he batted .250 with seven home runs and 37 RBI before being called up to the Twins again on July 28. In his seven games since the callup, Valencia batted .231 with six hits, one home run and six RBI.

In the Twins’ current series against the Red Sox, Valencia went 1-for-8 with an RBI and a run scored.

Nishioka, 28, will join the team for its upcoming series in Cleveland. He played 68 games for the Twins in 2011, batting .226 with 50 hits and 19 RBI, though he missed time after breaking his left fibula on April 7, 2011. He’s spent all of 2012 in Rochester, where he’s hit .245 with 79 hits and 24 RBI in 18 games. Nishioka signed a three-year contract with the Twins before the 2011 season after spending the first eight years of his career with the Chiba Lotte Mariners in Japan.

The 21-year-old Pineda has spent this season with the rookie-level Gulf Coast League Red Sox. Boston signed him as an international free agent out of the Dominican Republic in March 2011, and he’s hitting .421 with 56 hits and 22 RBI this season.

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