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Liriano's surgery goes well

  • Article by: La Velle E. Neal III
  • Star Tribune
  • November 7, 2006 - 6:04 AM

Twins lefthander Francisco Liriano underwent successful elbow reconstruction surgery on Monday and will miss the entire 2007 season.

The 90-minute surgery took place at the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic in Los Angeles. Los Angeles Angels team physician Dr. Lewis Yocum performed the procedure with Twins team physician Dr. John Steubs.

A tendon, called the palmaris longus, was removed from Liriano's left forearm and threaded through two holes drilled above and below his elbow. Surgeons used to take tendons from the opposite arm, but more are using tendons from the same arm.

"It went very well," Steubs said. "The ligament was thinned and stretched and not completely torn. It really didn't appear to be as strong as we hoped. I'm pretty confident, based on what we saw, that he will do well."

The real success, however, will be determined over the next several months, as Liriano will need to stick to a tough rehabilitation schedule.

"There is no rush and no urgency," Twins General Manager Terry Ryan said. "If he does this right, there will be no questions about the player who is coming back because he will be his old self."

Liriano must do gentle motion exercises for about a month. After that, it's range of motion and strengthening exercises for four to five months. Liriano then should be able to pick up a baseball and mix in light tossing. Bullpen sessions are possible in 10 to 12 months.

The Twins have yet to work out details with Liriano's agents as to where his rehab base will be. Liriano was working out in Fort Myers last month.

"We want to have 100 percent assurance of where he wants to go, and I want to make sure we are all on the same page," Ryan said. "I would like for him to go to Fort Myers and be under our umbrella."

Neither Liriano nor his agent, Greg Genske, were available for comment on Monday.

Liriano, 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA this season, first felt pain in early August, then attempted, unsuccessfully, a comeback in September.

The Twins plan to search for starting pitching during the offseason while Liriano begins the arduous task of working out for a year with no games to play. Ryan said he spoke with Liriano by phone on Saturday.

"He was like anybody who's never had something of this magnitude," Ryan said. "He's aware of the responsibility, and he will be fine."

Note

The list of players who filed for free agency on Monday began like this: Roger Clemens ... Andy Pettitte ... Brad Radke ...

Indications, however, still point toward Radke retiring. Many retired players still file for free agency the same year.

Three other things to remember here: Radke was adamant all year that he would retire; Ryan said Monday he's received no indications from Radke that he's even thinking about changing his mind; and Radke, who has a torn labrum, definitely would need surgery to pitch next season and would need six months to rehab.

La Velle E. Neal III • lneal@startribune.com

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