Results tagged ‘ Francisco Liriano ’

Thursday’s postgame tidbits — Liriano, Mauer, Portes

The Twins saw something from Francisco Liriano on Thursday night that they had been hoping to see this spring — confidence.

In his second outing of the spring, Liriano faced the Orioles for two innings in relief. He impressed with his outing, holding Baltimore scoreless while striking out three and allowing just one hit — a two-out triple to Robert Andino in the fifth inning.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said he was pleased with the way that Liriano located his fastball. Liriano’s breaking pitches looked good in his first spring outing but it’s been his fastball that he’s struggled with at times during his career.

“He was in one of those outings where you kind of get a little disappointed when they hit the ball,” Gardenhire said on Thursday. “There are a lot of swings and misses going on so when they hit it, you’re like [disappointed]. That’s how he threw the ball tonight. The ball was darting. I’m sure the guys on the other side will tell you he was pretty nasty.”

Gardenhire credited the difference in the way Liriano was throwing to his newfound confidence, not only in his stuff but the way he’s feeling physically.

“This game is all about confidence,” Gardenhire said. “Last year, he had just lost his confidence. He was questioning himself about which pitch to throw and all those things. When your stuff gets to a certain point and comes back and your arm feels good and your body feels good then everything starts to fall into place. By listening to him talk, that’s about where he is right now.”

– Drew Butera caught Liriano in his outing, although Joe Mauer had originally planned to do so. But Mauer left the contest after the third inning, thanks to taking a foul tip off his right shoulder. Gardenhire said Mauer was pretty sore after he came out of the game. Mauer had originally been scheduled to play on Friday against the Mets but now they’ll give him the day off.

“We all know catchers take a beating and there is no sense in pressing that,” Gardenhire said.

– Juan Portes continues to impress at the plate. The outfielder went 2-for-2 on Thursday night, with a double and his third home run of the spring. He’s now batting .700 (7-for-10) in six games this spring. His slugging percentage is a ridiculous 1.700.

Gardenhire said he first saw Portes back in Instructional League a few years ago and he liked the outfielder’s swing then.

“I always said he could swing the bat and I think he’s really showing it here,” Gardenhire said. “When you get invited to Major League camp, this is what you try to do. You try to open eyes and impress people. I think he’s doing that very well.”

– Twins bench coach Steve Liddle spent Thursday night in a local hospital after experiencing some dizziness and tightness in his chest during batting practice. Gardenhire said Liddle underwent some tests at the hospital on Thursday night but so far everything has checked out OK.

– Rain forced Thursday night’s contest to be called early and it could impact Friday’s game against the Mets. Gardenhire said there could be a window in the afternoon although rain is forecast for the entire morning.

Liriano to start Sunday

It’s now official: Francisco Liriano will start Sunday’s series finale against the Royals.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire confirmed the news during his pre-game media session on Friday. He said that Liriano will likely throw somewhere between 60-80 pitches, but it will depend on how the left-hander is looking on the mound.

“More than anything else, we have to see how he’s feeling and how he’s doing physically,” Gardenhire said of Liriano.

Sunday will mark Liriano’s first start since Aug. 17, when he lasted two innings in Texas. Right after that start, he was placed on the 15-day disabled list with left arm fatigue. Liriano then moved to the bullpen when was he was activated earlier this month. In three relief appearances, Liriano posted a 4.76 ERA.

Gardenhire said that the coaching staff wanted to give Liriano, who is 5-12 with a 5.75 ERA this season, a chance to pitch again once he rested his tired arm. The plan was to give him a few more innings out of the ‘pen to regain his confidence and they never really intended on moving him back into the rotation. But with the club currently in a pennant race and short on starting options, the situation called for Liriano to get another opportunity, Gardenhire said.

“[Jeff] Manship was a little bit overwhelmed,” Gardenhire said. “I
don’t think Frankie will be overwhelmed at all. He’s going to let it
fly. I don’t think the game itself is going to get to him whether he throws well or not. Because he’s not going to feel the pressure…I think he gives us a better chance.”

Here comes the next test: Twins at Royals 9/25

Following a day off on Thursday, the Twins now find themselves sitting three games back of the Tigers in the AL Central race.

The good news for the Twins is that their leadoff hitter, Denard Span, is back in the lineup for the first time since Monday when he was hit in the back of the helmet by a pitch. Span arrived for early batting practice and stood in on the bullpen sessions of Francisco Liriano and Nick Blackburn, giving him a chance to see both left-handed and right-handed pitching. Span said he feels ready to go and after a few days off, his body feels especially rested at this late point in the season.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Francisco Liriano is officially the starter for Sunday’s series finale in Kansas City. He’ll be matched up against Royals ace and Cy Young candidate Zack Greinke.

But first up for the Twins is a big test tonight against right-hander Robinson Tejada. In four starts since being moved to the rotation from the bullpen earlier this month, Tejada is 3-0 with a 0.81 ERA. That includes two wins over the Tigers.

Also an interesting note from the Elias Sports Bureau: Dating back to Aug. 31, right-handed hitters are a combined 0-for-39 against Tejada. It’s the longest consecutive hitless at-bats by right-handed batters against any pitcher this season.

Twins (79-73)
2nd place in AL Central, 3 games back

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, RF
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Jose Morales, DH
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Carl Pavano (12-11, 4.82)

Royals (63-90)
4th place in AL Central, 19.5 games back
Willie Bloomquist, RF
Mitch Maier, LF
Billy Butler, 1B
Mike Jacobs, DH
Alberto Callaspo, 2B
John Buck, C
Alex Gordon, 3B
Yuniesky Betancourt, SS
Josh Anderson, CF
Pitching: RHP Robinson Tejada (4-1, 2.94)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Twins go for sweep

Tonight the Twins are trying for their first three-game sweep over the White Sox in Chicago since July 24-26, 2006

They’ll be trying for the feat without Denard Span for a second consecutive day. The club’s leadoff hitter said he was feeling better on Wednesday, two days after getting hit in the head by a pitch, but he was not in the lineup. Span planned on taking batting practice with the club and preparing himself as if he was playing. He expects to be back on the field for Friday’s series opener in Kansas City.

Sounds like Francisco Liriano will be the starter on Sunday in Kansas City. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire was pleased enough with what he saw from Liriano in his 2 1/3 inning relief outing last night that the left-hander will get the nod in the series finale with the Royals.

Just a note that the Twins are expected to face Zack Greinke in both of their remaning series with the Royals. Greinke will pitch Sunday in KC and he’s also in line to start on Oct. 3 vs. Minnesota.

Twins (78-73)
2nd place in AL Central, 2 1/2 games back

Carlos Gomez, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Jason Kubel, RF
Michael Cuddyer, 1B
Delmon Young, LF
Brendan Harris, DH
Matt Tolbert, 3B
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: LHP Brian Duensing (4-1, 3.22)

White Sox (73-79)
3rd place in AL Central, 8 games back
Jayson Nix, 2B
Gordon Beckham, 3B
A.J. Pierzynski, C
Paul Konerko, 1B
Alexei Ramirez, SS
Jermaine Dye, RF
Carlos Quentin, LF
Alex Rios, CF
Tyler Flowers, DH
Pitching: LHP Mark Buehrle (12-9, 3.84)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Wednesday Lineups: Twins at Blue Jays

Michael Cuddyer is getting a little breather today while manager Ron Gardenhire shuffles the lineup a bit to get Joe Mauer in the DH spot. With Cuddyer out, Kubel is in right field. And yes, for those of you who were aware of yesterday’s lineup mixup, that’s accurate this time.

Francisco Liriano has been activated from the disabled list but he won’t be available out of the bullpen until tomorrow.

As for Joe Crede, Gardenhire said that he’s not ready to start in the field right now. The belief is that if Crede were to dive in the field, his back probably would not be able to handle that yet. So instead, Crede is being looked at as a pinch-hitter or perhaps a DH option against a left-handed pitcher.

The Twins have a stiff test in Toronto tonight as they face Roy Halladay, who is 8-0 with a 2.77 ERA in his career against Minnesota. There aren’t many Twins with strong numbers against Halladay with the exception of Delmon Young, who is 6-for-14 (.429). So Young is in left field again tonight.

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (69-69)
2nd place in AL Central, 6.5 games back

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Brian Buscher, 3B
Jose Morales, C
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: RHP Carl Pavano (11-11, 5.09)

Blue Jays (62-76)
4th place in AL East, 27 games back

Marco Scutaro, SS
Jose Bautista, RF
Adam Lind, DH
Lyle Overbay, 1B
Vernon Wells, CF
Rod Barajas, C
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Travis Snider, LF
John McDonald, 2B

Pitching: RHP Roy Halladay (14-8, 2.98)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Twins at Blue Jays on Tuesday: Mauer gets a day off and Crede activated

Joe Mauer is not in the lineup tonight against the Blue Jays. Manager Ron Gardenhire had planned to try to give Mauer, who went 3-for-5 in Monday’s win, a complete day off at some point on this roadtrip and he felt this was the best time. Gardenhire also said that he plans to give Mauer a DH day on Wednesday to give him a couple days of rest with so many long stretches of games coming up for the club.

Mauer is available to pinch hit tonight if needed. And with off days in
each of the next two weeks, Gardenhire said he hopes that this is the last game
Mauer won’t start this season.

Early in the day, there was a little lineup mixup. Originally we were told that Michael Cuddyer was the DH and Jason Kubel was playing right field. But Gardenhire was flip-flopping players to take Mauer’s spot in the lineup and forgot to switch the position numbers as well. So Cuddyer is actually in right field and Kubel is the DH, while also filling in for Mauer in the No. 3 hole.

The Twins activated Crede from the DL on Tuesday. Everything went well for Crede in the simulated game against Francisco Liriano — he saw about 10-15 pitches from the lefty– and the third baseman will be available off the bench tonight for the Twins.

Liriano also did well in the game as he threw 42 pitches. Gardenhire said the pitcher’s fastball was jumping. The plan is to activate Liriano on Wednesday and he will likely be available out of the bullpen for Thursday’s contest against the Blue Jays.

And for those of you interested, first base coach Jerry White did get a hit off Liriano in the simulated game. In the last at-bat of the contest, White blooped a single into the left field gap and all of the players gathered behind the batting cage greeted him with many high-fives.

“I think [Liriano] tried to sneak a fastball by him,” Gardenhire said with a laugh. 

Also a note, Gardenhire and his wife, Carol, who is on the trip to Toronto, are celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary today. So here is a congratulations to both of them and a happy anniversary!

Here are today’s lineups:

Twins (69-68)
2nd place in AL Central, 6.5 games back

Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Jason Kubel, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Brendan Harris, 3B
Delmon Young, LF
Mike Redmond, C
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: LHP Brian Duensing (2-1, 3.81)

Blue Jays (61-76)
4th place in AL East, 27 games back

Marco Scutaro, SS
Jose Bautista, RF
Adam Lind, LF
Vernon Wells, CF
Randy Ruiz, DH
Kevin Millar, 1B
Edwin Encarnacion, 3B
Raul Chavez, C
John McDonald, 2B

Pitching: LHP Rickey Romero (11-7, 4.15)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Perkins to have MRI on his shoulder

Glen Perkins will not make a start for the Twins this week as he’s set to undergo an MRI on his left shoulder when the team returns to Minnesota. Perkins said it’s a “precautionary” MRI that he and his agent decided needed to be done after he’s had a hard time getting loose lately.But for now, Perkins is out of the rotation.

As for the two undecided starts on Wednesday and Thursday against the Royals, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that Francisco Liriano would make one of them and Anthony Swarzak or Brian Duensing would make the other.

  • Twins third baseman Joe Crede said that his right shoulder is feeling better again and that the cortisone shot hit the right spot. He’ll be ready to do some activity on the field Tuesday, but the Twins will probably wait until at least Wednesday before slotting Crede back into the lineup.

  • Carlos Gomez’s calf is doing much better, Gardenhire said. Gomez didn’t start Sunday because he’s 0-for-5  with four strikeouts in his career against LHP Jarrod Washburn. 

Here are today’s lineups:

 Twins (54-56)
3rd place in AL Central, 4.5 games back


Denard Span, CF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, DH
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Delmon Young, LF
Mike Redmond, C
Nick Punto, 3B
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: RHP Scott Baker (9-7, 4.59)

Tigers (58-51)
1st place in AL Central

Curtis Granderson, CF
Placido Polanco, 2B
Marcus Thames, LF
Miguel Cabrera, 1B
Carlos Guillen, DH
Magglio Ordonez, RF
Brandon Inge, 3B
Gerald Laird, C
Ramon Santiago, SS
Pitching: LHP Jarrod Washburn (8-7, 2.93)

A reminder you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

Sunday updates: Twins vs. Angels series finale

Michael Cuddyer said that his back was feeling better on Sunday morning, but he was not in the starting lineup as expected. The plan still is to have Cuddyer use today and Monday’s off day to rest his stiff lower back before playing again on Tuesday when the club opens a three-game series in Cleveland.

Manager Ron Gardenhire said that Cuddyer could possibly be available to pinch-hit, although my guess is that he’ll try to avoid that option if at all possible.

Francisco Liriano threw a bullpen session this morning. Gardenhire hadn’t gotten an update on how it went before he spoke with the media, but indications were that no news was good news. So it’s still expected that Liriano will start Wednesday at Cleveland.

Here are today’s lineups:

Angels (62-40)
1st place in AL West

Chone Figgins, 3B
Erick Aybar, SS
Bobby Abreu, DH
Juan Rivera, RF
Kendry Morales, 1B
Howie Kendrick, 2B
Gary Matthews Jr., CF
Jeff Mathis, C
Sean Rodriguez, LF
Pitching: RHP Jeff Weaver (10-3, 3.71)

Twins (52-52)
3rd place in AL Central, 3.0 games back


Denard Span, RF
Orlando Cabrera, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Jason Kubel, DH
Delmon Young, LF
Brendan Harris, 3B
Carlos Gomez, CF
Alexi Casilla, 2B
Pitching: LHP Glen Perkins (6-6, 5.42)

Liriano scratched from start vs. White Sox

Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano had some swelling in his left forearm on Tuesday night and will not start tonight’s game against the White Sox.

Left-hander Brian Duensing will instead get the start.

Twins assistant general manager Rob Antony said that team doctors examined Liriano on Tuesday night after the pitcher arrived at the ballpark with his left forearm swollen. The plan was to check on the pitcher again when he arrived at the ballpark today and the club was going to make a decision at that time about Liriano’s start.

“The trainers and doctors will take a look at him again and then it will be up to [manager] Ron Gardenhire, [pitching coach] Rick Anderson and [trainer] Rick McWane whether he’ll pitch tonight,” Antony said earlier today..

The injury to Liriano, who is 4-10 with a 5.56 ERA this season, is a concern for a Twins rotation that’s already thin on depth. Earlier this week the club lost Kevin Slowey for the rest of the year after it was decided he would undergo surgery on his right wrist to repair a bone chip.

Twins shuffle rotation due to Perkins being ill

As I wrote in an earlier blog, the Twins have scratched Glen Perkins from tonight’s start against the Yankees because he’s ill and battling a fever. Anthony Swarzak will get the start for the Twins instead.

Perkins is not coming to the ballpark tonight, and right now it appears that Francisco Liriano will move up a day and start Thurs. vs. New York. Manager Ron Gardenhire said it’s “not totally locked in” so there is a chance it could change.

Depending on his health, Perkins could start Friday’s series opener vs. the White Sox or be slotted in any other day of the weekend when he’s feeling better.

Following Scott Baker’s short start last night, the Twins bullpen is a little thin. Gardenhire said there are four relievers available — Bobby Keppel, Matt Guerrier, Jose Mijares and Joe Nathan. Since both Brian Duensing and R.A. Dickey threw over 50 pitches, they are not considered available.

“We can stretch Keppel out if we have — hopefully we won’t have to,” Gardenhire said. “We’ll save the other guys for late stuff. It’s not a perfect scenario but not a lot we can do about it now.”

Even with Jason Kubel in the lineup, Michael Cuddyer is batting fifth behind Justin Morneau. Gardenhire said it was a result of Cuddyer swinging the bat well and also that righties are hitting better vs. Yankees starter A.J. Burnett (righties .273, lefties .207)

Here are your lineups.

Yankees
Derek Jeter, SS
Johnny Damon, LF
Mark Teixeira, 1B
Alex Rodriguez, 3B
Hideki Matsui, DH
Jorge Posada, C
Robinson Cano, 2B
Nick Swisher, RF
Brett Gardner, CF
Pitching: A.J. Burnett, RHP

Twins
Denard Span, LF
Brendan Harris, SS
Joe Mauer, C
Justin Morneau, 1B
Michael Cuddyer, RF
Jason Kubel, DH
Joe Crede, 3B
Carlos Gomez, CF
Nick Punto, 2B
Pitching: Anthony Swarzak, RHP

A reminder that you can follow me on Twitter  @kellythesier

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