Liriano looks promising in rehab
- Article by: La Velle E. Neal III
- Star Tribune
- September 2, 2007 - 1:16 AM
The Twins are getting a good look during this homestand at someone who could be a part of their 2008 rotation and he's not even active.
Lefthander Francisco Liriano, recovering from Tommy John surgery in November, is in town for another checkup after spending most of the summer rehabilitating in Fort Myers, Fla.
One look at Liriano shows that he's taken his rehab seriously.
"Everything is perfect," he said. "I haven't been feeling any soreness or any pain."
Liriano is now throwing from 140 feet as he begins to rebuild his arm strength. If everything goes well, he will throw lightly from a mound on Friday so he can get used to being on the mound again.
Don't confuse that with pitching. Liriano isn't scheduled to have a real bullpen session until November.
"If everything goes the way it is going now, I think I will be ready by spring training," he said.
Liriano sat down with the Twins on Friday to map out his next several months. He will spend the entire offseason in Fort Myers and not pitch winter ball. He'll report to instructional league, which begins Sept. 18, and participate in drills with other pitchers.
If his November bullpen sessions go without a hitch, he could arrive in spring training with a chance of breaking camp with the club. There has been talk of tinkering with Liriano's mechanics, but pitching coach Rick Anderson said it might be some minor things to eliminate Liriano's violent follow-through.
"We had a meeting [and there's] no problems at all," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He feels fantastic, and we want to keep him that way."
Lefthander Glen Perkins also figures prominently in the Twins' future, but he's struggled during a rehab stint following a muscle strain near his shoulder.
The Twins have recalled Perkins from his rehab assignment so he can work out under their watchful eyes.
If Perkins can throw in the bullpen pain-free over the next few days, he will be activated and used out of the bullpen. If not, he'll be shut down for the rest of the season.
Perkins had a poor outing Tuesday while pitching for Class AA New Britain, giving up six runs over two innings and not fielding his position.
According to Gardenhire, Perkins apologized to the team after the game, explaining that he was so worried about his shoulder he lost focus on other things.
Twins righthander Scott Baker sounded on Saturday as if it was just sinking in how close he was to history on Friday when he took a perfect game into the ninth inning but ended up with a one-hitter.
"You know how special it is," he said, "but I did not know there was only 18 perfect games in Major League Baseball history. It shows you how tough it is, how incredibly tough it is."
Baker said he received a several messages from friends after his gem, including a couple of buddies who couldn't believe he lost the no-no on a blooper by Mike Sweeney and not on a hard-hit ball.
Sweeney, by the way, was booed every time he batted Saturday.
Class AAA Rochester righthander Kevin Slowey, who will be called up to start Tuesday, gave up three runs over four innings Friday on seven hits, a walk and four strikeouts in a 10-7 loss to Buffalo. He threw 67 pitches.
Rochester lost to Buffalo 6-5 on Saturday night, eliminating the Red Wings from International League playoff contention.
Rookie league Elizabethton beat Danville 5-1 Friday to win the Appalachian League championship.
Outfielder Eli Tintor, from Hibbing, was sent home recently from Class A Beloit for what Twins director of minor leagues Jim Rantz called "a distraction." He used the same word to describe why Class A Fort Myers third baseman Danny Valencia was benched in recent games.
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