Results tagged ‘ Francisco Liriano ’

Ryan to continue to listen to offers before Deadline

MINNEAPOLIS — The Twins made their first trade as sellers late Saturday night, when they sent left-hander Francisco Liriano to the White Sox for infielder Eduardo Escobar and left-hander Pedro Hernandez.

But it might not be their only trade before Tuesday’s Trade Deadline, as clubs have interest in first baseman Justin Morneau and outfielders Denard Span and Josh Willingham.

Twins general manager Terry Ryan wouldn’t rule out another deal, as he said he’ll be listening in on offers until the deadline.

“We’ll do a little bit of everything,” Ryan said. “You have to make sure your options are open. If you have a chance to do something good, you do it. There’s no harm in exploring.”

Ryan, though, wouldn’t say how likely it is that the Twins make another trade after dealing Liriano.

“I have no idea,” Ryan said. “That’s a tough thing to quantify. I don’t know. I felt like this thing with Frankie was going to happen because there was interest in pitching and we didn’t talk about an extension.”

Liriano traded to the White Sox for two prospects

MINNEAPOLIS — Francisco Liriano will be staying in the American League Central.

The Twins traded the left-hander to the division rival White Sox on Saturday night for infielder Eduardo Escobar and left-hander Pedro Hernandez. It’s just the seventh time the two clubs have completed a trade and the first time since 1986.

“It was getting close to the deadline, and we’re trying to make a good baseball trade,” Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. “We certainly were looking for a possible trade with Frankie. I do want to mention that this guy is one of the best guys we’ve got in that clubhouse. He’s a good teammate. He’s a good worker, and I decided the timing, I’m going to make this move. I’m not thrilled with trading him within the division obviously. You know where we are in the standings.”

Liriano, who was scheduled to start against the Indians on Sunday, will instead be joining Chicago’s rotation. Left-hander Brian Duensing will make a spot start in his place.

Liriano is scheduled to remain in Minnesota, as the Twins host the White Sox in a three-game series starting Monday at Target Field. Liriano is expected to make his first start with Chicago against his former team sometime next week.

The 28-year-old posted a 5.31 ERA with 109 strikeouts and 55 walks in 100 innings with the Twins this season, but he’s been pitching better recently with a 3.68 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 66 innings over his last 12 outings dating back to May 30 after a stint in the bullpen due to early season struggles.

“That was a rollercoaster season so far,” Ryan said. “It was a struggle, then he was great. He’s capable, as we all know. He’s capable of being quite good when he pitches ahead, throws the ball over the plate. It’s as simple as that.”

It’s the second time Liriano has been dealt in his career, as he was acquired by the Twins in a 2003 trade with the Giants that also brought Joe Nathan and Boof Bonser to Minnesota for catcher A.J. Pierzynski, who will be Liriano’s catcher in Chicago.

Liriano, who is set to be a free agent after the season, posted a 4.33 ERA in 156 career appearances with the Twins. He struck out 788 and walked 324 in 783 1/3 innings. He also threw a no-hitter against the White Sox last season at U.S. Cellular Field.

But the Twins didn’t approach Liriano about a possible contract extension before they opted to trade him, according to Ryan.

“I didn’t pursue an extension,” Ryan said. “I don’t want to pretend like we pursued an extension and I don’t want to pretend like they did. We never talked about an extension either party — his representative or us.”

Escobar, a 23-year-old who can play shortstop, second base and third base, has played in 35 games with the White Sox this season, batting .195 with a .275 on-base percentage and .244 slugging percentage. Escobar, who started the year ranked as Chicago’s No. 4 prospect according to, is a career .270/.315/.351 hitter in six Minor League seasons.

He’ll be optioned to Triple-A Rochester, as the Twins want him to get consistent playing time after coming off the bench for the White Sox this season.

“That was a tough decision because he’s been in the big leagues, but I think he needs regular at-bats and we’re going to send him to Rochester for that reason,” Ryan said. “He’s a switch-hitter who can run. He’s got tremendous energy, he’s strong enough. He can play shortstop. He can play second. He doesn’t really profile at third offensively but he can play there. Defensively you wouldn’t have any problem with any of the three.”

Hernandez, also 23, made his Major League debut against the Red Sox on July 18, and allowed eight runs on 12 hits over four innings. Hernandez, ranked as the White Sox’s No. 20 prospect by, has a career 3.42 ERA in six Minor League seasons. He has a 2.94 ERA split between Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte this year.

Hernandez, whose wife gave birth to a healthy baby girl on Saturday, will be transferred from Charlotte to Rochester where he’ll remain a starter.

“He has enough stuff,” Ryan said. “He’s got a fastball, slider and a change. He throws a lot of strikes, which is good.”

With both Escobar and Hernandez on the 40-man roster, the Twins also transferred right-hander P.J. Walters to the 60-day disabled list. He was originally placed on the 15-day DL on May 14 with right shoulder inflammation.

The Twins will also recall a player on Sunday to take Liriano’s spot on the 25-man roster.

Game 46: Liriano will rejoin the rotation

MINNEAPOLIS — Francisco Liriano is headed back to the rotation.

Following five relief appearances after struggling in six starts to begin the season, the left-hander will take right-hander Anthony Swarzak’s spot in the rotation and will start on Wednesday against the A’s at Target Field.

“I’m just looking forward to the start,” Liriano said. “I’ve always been a starter. It’s what I want to do so I’m pretty happy. So I’m looking forward to doing my job and getting better.”

Liriano was moved to the bullpen after posting a 9.45 ERA in 26 2/3 innings as a starter. He fared better as a reliever with a 4.91 ERA in 7 1/3 innings but still had trouble with his control, as he walked seven and struck out nine.

He allowed four runs on five hit over 2 2/3 innings against the Tigers last night but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire still saw enough from him that he wants him back in the rotation.

“We liked the way he was handling himself out there, and he needs to get back out there,” Gardenhire said. “We need him in our rotation. We can’t just keep bouncing around from guy to guy.”

Liriano said the move to the bullpen helped him get his mechanics in order and also helped him clear his head after the rough start to the season.

“Mentally and physically I’m fine,” Liriano said. “I stayed positive and didn’t lose my confidence. So I’m just looking forward to Wednesday and trying to get better at everything.”

Swarzak, meanwhile, will head back to the bullpen after giving up six runs over 3 2/3 innings against the Tigers last night. He was not at Target Field today, as he was home dealing with flu-like symptoms.

Tigers (21-24)
1. Quintin Berry, CF
2. Andy Dirks, LF
3. Miguel Cabrera, 3B
4. Prince Fielder, 1B
5. Delmon Young, DH
6. Brennan Boesch, RF
7. Jhonny Peralta, SS
8. Alex Avila, C
9. Ramon Santiago, 2B

RHP Max Scherzer (3-5, 5.73 ERA, 3.89 FIP, 48 2/3 IP, 63 K, 19 BB, 8 HR)

Twins (15-30)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Ben Revere, RF
3. Joe Mauer, DH
4. Josh Willingham, LF
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Brian Dozier, SS
7. Alexi Casilla, 2B
8. Drew Butera, C
9. Jamey Carroll, 3B

RHP Carl Pavano (2-3, 4.91 ERA, 4.07 FIP, 55 IP, 29 K, 7 B, 7 HR)

Game 17: Liriano to skip his next start

MINNEAPOLIS — In an effort to help him clear his head after struggling in four outings so far this season, the Twins will skip left-hander Francisco Liriano’s turn in the rotation this week.

Minnesota has an off-day on Thursday, which allows the Twins to go with a four-man rotation before Liriano makes his next start on Tuesday in Anaheim. Liriano allowed five runs in five innings yesterday against the Rays, and has an 11.02 ERA with 12 strikeouts and 13 walks in 16 1/3 innings.

Gardenhire told Liriano of the club’s decision during a meeting today that also included pitching coach Rick Anderson. Anderson is set to watch Liriano throw bullpen sessions on Thursday and Saturday.

“It’s about being able to relax on the mound and he knows that,” Gardenhire said. “He actually says he has confidence. But he’ll tell you straight out that when he gets men out there he starts spinning ‘em. So he’s got to be able to control that. It’s a work in progress. We’re letting him take a step back and relax a little bit.”

In other news, second baseman Alexi Casilla was a late scratch with flu-like symptoms. Trevor Plouffe moves from left field to second base to take his place in the lineup, while Chris Parmelee makes his first career start in left field.

Left fielder Josh Willingham will also be placed on paternity leave on Wednesday to attend the birth of his third son with his wife Ginger. The Twins will call somebody up to replace him, even though he could return as early as Friday. My best guess is that Revere gets the call, but we’ll see.

Justin Morneau also makes his second start of the season at first base tonight.

Red Sox (4-10)

1. Mike Aviles, SS
2. Ryan Sweeney, RF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
8. Cody Ross, RF
9. Marlon Byrd, CF

LHP Jon Lester (0-2, 5.82. 3.88 FIP, 17 IP, 12 K, 9 BB)

Twins (5-11)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, DH
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, RF
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Chris Parmelee, LF
9. Trevor Plouffe, 2B

RHP Jason Marquis (1-0, 7.20, 6.14 FIP, 5 IP, 3 K, 2 BB)

Game 2: Twins lineup vs. Orioles

BALTIMORE — After the Twins’ 4-2 Opening Day loss yesterday, manager Ron Gardenhire has a new lineup for the second game of the season.

Ryan Doumit, who started in right field, is being replaced by Ben Revere, who is starting in right and batting eighth.

Doumit is likely getting the day off because he’ll catch tomorrow to give Joe Mauer a rest, as it’s a day game after a night game.

Revere should also greatly improve the outfield defense, considering Doumit had trouble with a fly ball to deep right field yesterday that ended up being an RBI triple off the bat of Nick Markakis.

It’ll also be interesting to see how left-hander Francisco Liriano fares, as he’s coming off a huge spring that saw him post a 2.33 ERA with 33 strikeouts compared to just five walks over 27 innings.

If the Twins are to rebound from last year, they’re going to need a huge season from Liriano, who has great stuff but has trouble harnessing it as evidenced by his 5.09 ERA a year ago.

We’ll also hopefully get an update on Scott Baker today, as his MRI exam showed nothing new from the one that was taken back in July of last year. He was diagnosed with a slight flexor muscle strain after the initial MRI exam last year. He’s slated to get a second opinion for Dr. David Altchek in New York next week.

Twins (0-1)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, DH
5. Josh Willingham, LF
6. Chris Parmelee, 1B
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Ben Revere, RF
9. Alexi Casilla, 2B

LHP Francisco Liriano

Orioles (1-0)
1. Nolan Reimold, LF
2. J.J. Hardy, SS
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Adam Jones, CF
5. Matt Wieters, C
6. Mark Reynolds, 3B
7. Nick Johnson, 1B
8. Ronny Paulino, DH
9. Robert Andino, 2B

RHP Tommy Hunter

Blackburn appears set to start home opener

FORT MYERS, Fla. — After tossing five innings against the Red Sox, Twins right-hander Nick Blackburn said he wasn’t sure when he’ll make his next start.

But pitching coach Rick Anderson said Blackburn’s next outing will be against Class A Advanced Fort Myers on Wednesday, and strongly hinted that he’ll start the home opener against the Angels on April 9 at Target Field.

“Figure the math,” Anderson said. “Five days after that, when is he throwing again? It’s the home opener.”

With Blackburn apparently scheduled to start in the home opener, the Twins are getting close to setting their rotation. Right-hander Carl Pavano will start on Opening Day in Baltimore on April 6 and left-hander Francisco Liriano appears set to start in the club’s second game.

The third starter is up in the air, but right-hander Liam Hendriks is the front-runner to make that start, as Scott Baker (elbow tendonitis) and Jason Marquis (family issue) aren’t likely to be ready to open the season. The Twins don’t need a fifth starter because of the off-day on April 10.

Blackburn didn’t turn his prettiest outing of the spring on Friday, but he was happy he was able to make an in-game adjustment to bounce back after a shaky first few innings against the Red Sox.

He gave up five hits — including a two-run homer to Cody Ross in the second frame — and walked two, but got out of a few key games and settled down after the third.

Through four Grapefruit League outings, Blackburn has a 2.25 ERA with 12 strikeouts and four walks over 16 innings.

“Today was as ugly as it’s been,” Blackburn said. “I was able to do some damage control but most importantly I made an adjustment during a game. Even though this is a spring training game, you still have adrenaline facing a lineup like that, and the fact that you can make an adjustment in the game was a big thing for me right now. I don’t think I could have done that a couple years ago.”

Morneau, Mauer, Hughes power Twins to win

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Justin Morneau and Luke Hughes both homered, and Joe Mauer added three hits to lead the Twins to an 11-7 win over the Phillies on Wednesday at Hammond Stadium.

The Twins go for their third win in a row on Thursday, when they travel to Bradenton to face the Pirates.

What went right: Morneau continued his impressive stretch, going 3-for-4 with a homer and three RBIs.

Morneau, making his 10th straight start at designated hitter, is hitting .471 (8-for-17) with three homers, two doubles and nine RBIs over his last five games.

It’s certainly a good sign for the Twins, but they’re still not saying whether he’ll start the year at DH or at first base. But it’s becoming more and more likely he’ll begin the season at DH.

Mauer also had three hits, including an RBI single in the fourth inning. He’s now batting .340 this spring.

Hughes hit his team-leading fifth homer of the spring in the Twins’ seven-run fourth inning. He’s been crushing the ball this spring with a .375 batting average, and is all but guaranteed a spot on the team. He also saw his first action in left field.

Left-hander Francisco Liriano was solid, allowing two runs on seven hits over four-plus innings. More importantly, he walked just one batter and has a 2.45 ERA with 26 strikeouts and just four walks in 22 innings this spring.

Left-hander Brian Duensing tossed two scoreless innings in relief of Liriano, and has allowed just one run this year.

What went wrong: Glen Perkins and Matt Capps both threw on consecutive days for the first time this spring, and struggled.

Perkins allowed three runs on three hits in the sixth inning. But he did strike out two batters.

And Capps gave up a run on two hits in the eighth to raise his ERA to 4.00 this spring. Alex Burnett gave up another run in the ninth and now has a 7.88 ERA.

What they said: “I’m going to buy M&Ms on the way home because I feel so nostalgic,” Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said when asked if Mauer and Morneau’s big day reminded him of the good old days. “Nostalgic? To me, the good old days were the 70s. So, no, they don’t remind me of the 70s.”

What’s next: Left-hander Matt Maloney is scheduled to make his first start of the spring on Thursday against the Pirates in Bradenton at 12:05 p.m. CT. Maloney, who is competing for a spot in the bullpen, has been perfect so far this spring with a 0.00 ERA in 11 1/3 innings. Right-hander Jared Burton is also scheduled to pitch for the Twins. Right-hander James McDonald gets the start for Pittsburgh.

Injury update: Outfielder Trevor Plouffe (strained right hamstring) went 4-for-4 with three homers and a double in a Triple-A game on Wednesday … Infielder Sean Burroughs received good news, as an X-ray exam on his left forearm came back negative. He’s day to day. … Outfielder Josh Willingham returned to the lineup after tweaking his ankle before Monday’s game against the Rays.

Game 18: Liriano dominant in win over Pirates

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Left-hander Francisco Liriano tossed five no-hit innings and the Twins allowed just one hit in a 10-0 win over the Pirates at Hammond Stadium.

The Twins improved to 10-8 with the victory, and make the short trek to JetBlue Park to face the Red Sox on Monday at 12:35 p.m. CT.

What went right: Liriano looked the best he has all spring, walking just one and striking out six over five no-hit frames.

So far, Liriano has struck out 18 and walked just two in 13 Grapefruit League innings. It’s a great sign for the Twins, who need him to pitch like he did in 2010 after struggling last season with a 5.09 ERA.

Jeff Gray, Sam Deduno and Casey Fien also threw no-hit innings, while Luis Perdomo served up the Pirates’ lone hit in the eighth inning. Brandon Boggs picked up the one single with one out in the eighth, but was thrown out by Brian Dinkelman while trying to advance to second base.

The offense also looked good with 13 hits and 10 runs, as they scored five runs in both the second and seventh innings.

Jamey Carroll, who entered hitting just .043 this spring, went 2-for-3, including a two-run double down the right-field line in the second inning. Brian Dozier hit his first homer of the spring to lead off the seventh, while Ray Chang added a two-run double.

Alexi Casilla, Joe Mauer, Justin Morneau, Trevor Plouffe and Joe Benson each picked up an RBI on the afternoon.

What went wrong: Not much, considering the Twins outplayed the Pirates in just about every aspect of the game.

Mauer and Morneau combined to go 0-for-5 but both had RBI groundouts in the second inning with the infield playing back. Danny Valencia went 0-for-3, including a strikeout to end the first inning with the bases loaded.

Perdomo gave up the lone hit by the Pirates, but didn’t allow a baserunner to reach, as Boggs was thrown out at second.

What they said: “I said all right, I’m going to go home and hit my dog. And he goes, your dog doesn’t have anything to worry about, you won’t be hitting it too hard,” Carroll said about a funny exchange he had with Twins manager Ron Gardenhire earlier this week after another hitless game. “I needed to hear that, so it was good. I don’t have a dog, so all the animal-rights activists, it’s just a joke. But you need to hear that. You get frustrated. You want to contribute, especially on a new team. You want to play well, and I think it’s a matter of just trying to relax a little bit and let it come.”

What’s next: Right-hander Jason Marquis is set to make his fourth Grapefruit League start on Monday against the Red Sox at 12:35 p.m. CT at JetBlue Park. Marquis has allowed nine runs over 8 2/3 innings this spring. Right-handers Alex Burnett, Jared Burton, Anthony Swarzak and Jeff Manship are also scheduled to pitch for the Twins.

Injury update: Right-hander Scott Baker (elbow) faces a big test on Monday, as he’s slated to throw a bullpen at the club’s Spring Training complex before they travel down the road to play the Red Sox. Baker is expected to ramp up his intensity after throwing at about 75 percent on Saturday. … Outfielder Trevor Plouffe exited Sunday’s game against the Pirates in the seventh inning with a strained right hamstring. It’s not serious but he’s expected to be held out through at least Wednesday.

Game 12: Lineups vs. split-squad Blue Jays

FORT MYERS, Fla. — Twins center fielder Denard Span was held out of the lineup for the second straight day with neck stiffness.

Span said he’s feeling much better today, but by the time he arrived at the ballpark, the lineup had already been posted.

Span, who tweaked his neck during warm-ups before Saturday’s game, remains hopeful he’ll play tomorrow.

“I feel a lot better compared to the way I felt two days ago,” Span said. “My range of motion is a lot better. Hopefully soon I’ll be back out there.”

Left-hander Francisco Liriano makes the start against the Blue Jays, who are playing very few regulars, as they’re also hosting Team Canada in Dunedin.

Twins (6-5)
1. Darin Mastroianni, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Justin Morneau, 1B
5. Josh Willingham, RF
6. Danny Valencia, 3B
7. Trevor Plouffe, LF
8. Steve Pearce, DH
9. Luke Hughes, 2B

LHP Francisco Liriano

Twins reserves: Drew Butera, Rene Rivera, Sean Burroughs, Wilkin Ramirez, Brian Dinkelman, Ray Chang, Matt Carson, Rene Tosoni, Ben Revere

Twins pitchers: Alex Burnett, Jared Burton, Sam Deduno, Deolis Guerra, Matt Maloney, Lester Oliveros, Kyle Waldrop

Blue Jays (8-2-1)
1. Rajai Davis, CF
2. Travis Snyder, LF
3. Travis d’Arnaud
4. Eric Thames, DH
5. David Cooper, 1B
6. Moses Sierra, RF
7. Adeiny Hechavarria, SS
8. Mike McCoy, 3B
9. Jonathan Diaz, 2B

LHP Brett Cecil

Game 7: Liriano solid but late error dooms Twins

FORT MYERS, Fla. — On the day Glen Perkins signed a three-year extension, a costly error by second baseman Luke Hughes in the ninth inning led to a 1-0 loss to the Rays at Hammond Stadium.

Left-hander Francisco Liriano was solid, but the offense couldn’t get much going against Tampa Bay, which improved to 1-2 against Minnesota in Grapefruit League play.

What went right: Liriano faced the minimum, allowing just one hit over three scoreless innings. He also struck out five and didn’t issue a walk. He also didn’t have to depend on his slider for results, as he threw it just four times in 34 pitches.

But Liriano wasn’t the only pitcher with impressive results, as Liam Hendriks, Scott Diamond, Daryl Thompson, Jeff Manship and Brendan Wise each threw a scoreless inning for the Twins. Manship was particularly impressive, as he struck out the side in the seventh.

Center fielder Denard Span went 1-for-2 with a walk and two stolen bases to pace the offense. Josh Willingham, J.R. Towles, Tsuyoshi Nishioka and Aaron Bates each picked up a hit for the Twins. Bates also made a nice diving play at first in the ninth to save a run from scoring.

What went wrong: Hughes, making his first appearance at second base since suffering a sprained right shoulder in a home-plate collision in early March, made a throwing error that led to the lone run of the game scoring in the ninth.

Right-hander Carlos Gutierrez walked Hak-Ju Lee with two outs before he stole second with Tim Beckham at the plate. Gutierrez appeared to get out of the inning with Beckham hitting a grounder to second, but Hughes threw the ball into the dirt to allow Lee to score from second.

On the next play, Nishioka couldn’t handle a ball hit to his right by Cole Figueroa, but it was ruled a single. The Twins were then lucky to get out of the inning without any more damage, as Bates robbed Brad Coon of a run-scoring hit on a diving play at first to end the inning.

Because of the botched plays behind Gutierrez, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said it wasn’t Gutierrez’s fault for allowing an unearned run to get saddled with the loss.

“Today he threw the ball great but we just missed plays behind him,” Gardenhire said. “This is one of our top prospects, arm-wise, velocity-wise; he’s a big, strong kid. We need him to stay in the zone and keep the pace going. His last two outings it’s kinda what he’s been able to do.”

What they said: “Neither team had much offense to talk about so let’s call that good pitching,” Gardenhire joked. “Let’s not get into the negatives.”

What’s next: Right-hander Jason Marquis starts against the Cardinals tomorrow at Hammond Stadium. It marks his second start of Grapefruit League play, as he allowed four runs on three hits over 1 2/3 innings against the Red Sox on Monday. Joe Mauer is also expected to DH. Right-hander Adam Wainwright, who missed all of last season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, starts for the Cardinals for the first time since Sept. 24, 2010.

Injury update: Twins infielder Luke Hughes made his first appearance at second base after serving as designated hitter twice in spring. And although he made a throwing error in the ninth, he told Gardenhire he’s healthy and ready to play in the infield.