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Ron Gardenhire says Twins “talking about our options” with struggling Francisco Liriano

Apr 29, 2011, 2:14 PM EDT


Ron Gardenhire indicated today that Francisco Liriano could be in danger of losing his spot in the Twins’ rotation after going 1-4 with a 9.13 ERA through five outings, telling Phil Mackey of that “we’ve been talking about our options with him.”

Kevin Slowey moved from the rotation to the bullpen because the Twins had six starters for five spots and is now on the disabled list with a shoulder injury, but his rehab assignment involves building up his pitch count in case he’s tabbed to replace Liriano.

Asked about Liriano’s confidence, Gardenhire noted that “it hasn’t been good” and added “that’s kind of why we’re working on Slowey … in case we have to decide after his next start whether we’re going to do something.”

Liriano was fantastic last season, posting a 3.62 ERA with 201 strikeouts in 192 innings while his secondary numbers suggested he’d have been even better if not for some shaky defense and/or back luck behind him. Instead of progressing into a clear-cut ace this season Liriano has taken several steps backwards with his command and velocity while failing to make it past the fifth inning in four of five starts.

His struggles come after the Twins questioned his offseason conditioning and trade rumors briefly swirled following reports that they had no interest in signing Liriano to a long-term contract extension, which certainly looks like a wise decision right now. He’s gone from ace in the making to possibly getting bumped from the rotation. It’s unclear if Minnesota’s “options” with Liriano would involve a trip to the DL or a move to the bullpen, but the Twins seemed frustrated with the 27-year-old left-hander even when he was thriving.

  1. yankeesfanlen - Apr 29, 2011 at 2:29 PM

    Mariano….Soriano…..Liriano….sort of has a ring to it? Well, better than Millwood.

    • uyf1950 - Apr 29, 2011 at 3:11 PM

      If the Twins keep up their losing ways and Liriano continues to pitch like he wants out of Dodge (Twin Cities) the Yankees should make them an offer they can’t refuse. Cervelli for Liriano straight up. The way it’s looking right now the Twins are getting the better deal. They get a catcher they need and they get rid of a malcontent. Remember you heard it here first. That’s just my opinion.

      • spindervish - Apr 29, 2011 at 3:33 PM

        Your rather polite manner often does a good job of obscuring the fact that you’re a little out of your mind son. A backup catcher for a SP coming off a fringe Cy Young-caliber season??

        Maybe Seattle should send you guys Felix already and get it over with. They can offer to cover the rest of his contract and throw in Pineda too.

        Damn delusional Yankee fans.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 29, 2011 at 3:55 PM

        spindervish – obviously you missed the sarcasm aspect of my post. But since you bring up delusional. It would appear to me the fans that are delusional are those Twins fans that:
        First, think they are going to be competitive this year.
        Second, can’t see the albatross around the Twins necks with the contracts of Mauer and Morneau.
        Third, think that when not if the Twins trade Liriano he will bring them anything near what a “fringe” Cy Young caliber pitcher would bring. Ain’t gonna happen, he wants out and the Twins want him gone that doesn’t make for trading from a position of strength. That’s just my opinion.

      • kopy - Apr 29, 2011 at 4:19 PM

        Nobody would be delusional to think the Twins are going to compete this year. Unless you think the Indians or Royals are going to win the AL Central, the Twins are 2.5 games back (otherwise 7 behind CLE)… in April. The Twins have won the division after bring 7 games back… in September. While the Twins haven’t looked good, I would only be worried if they didn’t have a big core of players out with very temporary issues. Mauer is the only question mark, but the Twins could win *this* division without him. This is just an incendiary comment to claim the Twins are done.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 29, 2011 at 4:50 PM

        kopy – there is nothing incendiary about my previous comment. It is what it is. The Twins offense ranks among the very worst in the AL and in the bottom 5 in all of ML’s. Their pitching is terrible last in the AL and 3 worst in all of the ML’s statistically. The Twins closer can’t close and the defense is suspect. Now if it were only a temporary offensive issues as you seem to want to think I would agree with you. But with 15% of the season gone it would appear the Twins issues run deeper then just the offensive shortcomings due to several player injuries. I also think it’s very short sighted to dismiss the Cleveland Indians as cavalierly in an effort to justify the Twins future this season.

      • spindervish - Apr 29, 2011 at 4:59 PM

        Yeah, I completely missed the sarcasm. My bad – sort of. I mean, there’s really nothing obviously sarcastic about your post, except the ludicrous trade suggestion itself. But that seemed pretty in line with a number of the various other ridiculous, Yankee-centric comments you’ve made.

      • uyf1950 - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:27 PM

        spindervish – the trade suggestion was the entire theme of my initial post.

  2. Mr. Jason "El Bravo" Heyward - Apr 29, 2011 at 3:40 PM

    I hope to hell he’s traded. I’m entirely confident that he wants out of MN and that the Twins handled him poorly after his brilliant 2010. I’d put money down that if he is moved, he bounces back in like minutes…especially if he’s put in the NL.

  3. Joe - Apr 29, 2011 at 3:52 PM

    I heard the Twins are kicking the tires on Dontrelle Willis.

  4. mplsjoe - Apr 29, 2011 at 5:27 PM

    Can the Twins send Liriano to the minors? Letting him work on his stuff there might be a better option. Rather than being banished to the bullpen where he’ll screw up his arm strength/stamina with rare appearances, might be a better option.

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