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Twins name Francisco Liriano fifth starter

Mar 30, 2010, 3:46 PM EDT

As expected the Twins announced this afternoon that Francisco Liriano will be their fifth starter, with his first outing coming April 9 against the White Sox.
Liriano’s name was tossed into the closer mix with Joe Nathan out for the season, but he never seemed interested in a switch to the bullpen and Ron Gardenhire made it clear that he also preferred to give the 26-year-old southpaw another chance in the rotation.
Liriano was a mess last season after initially showing some promise in his 2008 return from Tommy John surgery, going 5-13 with a 5.80 ERA, but he dominated the Dominican Winter League this offseason and continued to thrive this spring while battling Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins for the fifth-starter gig.
Making his final start this afternoon Liriano tossed six shutout innings with eight strikeouts compared to three hits and three walks, slicing his overall spring ERA to 2.70 with a 30/5 K/BB ratio in 20 innings. Reviews of his raw stuff has been equally positive, so while he may never be the unhittable phenom who burst onto the scene in 2006, as elbow surgery fades further and further into his rear-view mirror it looks like Liriano may once again be an impact pitcher.

  1. ThatGuy - Mar 30, 2010 at 4:12 PM

    LOL@therestoftheCentral… An Ace pitcher is all the Twins need to be real contenders…it appears they may have that… Sorry Sox/Tigers fans…

  2. Sam - Mar 30, 2010 at 4:33 PM

    So, if I understand this team correctly, this means that the Twins will let Liriano have a few starts, then send him to the minors to make room for Livan Hernandez. Only after 20 excellent starts in the minors can he earn his way back into the rotation, just in time to get the Twins into a one-game playoff, which they will lose.

  3. zebano - Mar 31, 2010 at 8:51 AM

    LOL Sam, that’s sadly accurate if cynical take on the Twins. My only question is why they’re not breaking camp with Slama as the first man to take a shot at the closer job (sure a committee is fine but Gardy won’t actually do that – he’ll trot out his current favorite until they wins the job or f-up so bad he moves on to someone else). Drop Casilla and go with 13 pitchers for now. They have Harris as a utility infielder (though those outfielders better stay healthy) and Thome plays some right field if absolutely necessary.

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