Twins' Liriano can only wait

  • Article by: JOE CHRISTENSEN , Star Tribune
  • Updated: February 20, 2007 - 8:03 AM

One of the more compelling storylines at Twins spring training, which opened Monday, is that of a young phenom pitcher who won't throw at all. Francisco Liriano is already eager to return.

view larger photos

  

FORT MYERS, FLA.

Francisco Liriano has a six-inch scar on his left elbow now, a mean-looking purple streak that clashes with his gentle, 23-year-old personality.

Liriano rolled up his sleeve to show it off Monday morning, realizing he had nothing better to do.

The rest of the Twins pitchers were out in the sunshine, going through their first spring training workout. Liriano was still inside, waiting for the fields to clear so he could do some running drills.

Just a few more tiny steps in his year-long recovery from reconstructive elbow surgery.

"It's going to be hard for me waiting for next year because I don't feel any pain," Liriano said. "I just want to throw."

The Twins sure wish he could, too.

Liriano went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA last year and was the favorite to win American League Rookie of the Year honors before injuring the elbow in early August. Three months later, after one aborted comeback and weeks of indecision, Liriano underwent the procedure known as Tommy John surgery.

On Nov. 6 in Los Angeles, Dr. Lewis Yocum took a tendon from Liriano's left forearm and used it to replace the medial collateral ligament in the elbow. The Twins announced Liriano would miss the entire 2007 season.

Since then, Liriano has said very little publicly. Asked if he was frustrated with the team, Liriano said, "A little bit because I wanted to get [the surgery] done a long time ago."

He said he skipped TwinsFest last month so he could focus on his rehab program in Miami. He told reporters in the Dominican Republic that he wanted to throw from a mound by October.

On Monday, he met with the Twins again to establish a realistic timeline.

"They told me this morning that I'm not going to try to pitch this year," he said. "I'm going to take it easy, make sure everything's fine and come back in 2008. But I would like to pitch in winter ball."

Liriano said that would mean pitching in the Dominican winter league by November. Twins General Manager Terry Ryan cautioned that it would likely be December, but he said that's a reasonable goal.

"We have a rehab schedule, and I think we're pretty much pointing toward winter ball," Ryan said. "He might be able to participate in some drills in the [fall] instructional league camp ... but we are not going to jeopardize anything with this young man's future."

Liriano has spent the past three months strengthening the elbow and building up the rest of his body. He weighed in at 218 pounds this week -- 15 pounds heavier than he was at this time last year.

It helps that Liriano's best friend, Merkin Valdez, had the same Tommy John procedure done to his right arm in September 2005. Valdez, who was once rated as a top prospect, is pitching in big-league camp this spring for the San Francisco Giants.

Liriano knows he's going to spend most of the season in Fort Myers, taking baby steps. Ryan said he might begin throwing a baseball again in April. Patience is the key.

"He had a smile on his face this morning," Ryan said. "Our trainers and doctors are very encouraged that he has been doing the therapy and the rehab."

And best of all, by the first day of spring training next year Liriano should have no restrictions. That was enough to make him smile, even though it's going to be a long 12 months.

  • get related content delivered to your inbox

  • manage my email subscriptions
Final123456789RHE
Minnesota000000000040
Detroit «00100002X340
@Ballpark Replay
Preview | Matchup | Lineup | Log | Wrap | Box
W:D.Price(15-12) L:K.Gibson(13-12) S:J.Nathan (35)
HR: MIN- None DET- I.Kinsler (17)

ADVERTISEMENT

San Francisco - M. Bumgarner 7:07 PM
Pittsburgh - E. Volquez
Minnesota 10/2/14 7:25 PM
Green Bay
Buffalo 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Detroit
Chicago 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Carolina
Cleveland 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Tennessee
St. Louis 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Philadelphia
Atlanta 10/5/14 12:00 PM
NY Giants
Tampa Bay 10/5/14 12:00 PM
New Orleans
Houston 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Dallas
Baltimore 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Indianapolis
Pittsburgh 10/5/14 12:00 PM
Jacksonville
Arizona 10/5/14 3:05 PM
Denver
Kansas City 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Francisco
NY Jets 10/5/14 3:25 PM
San Diego
Cincinnati 10/5/14 7:30 PM
New England
Seattle 10/6/14 7:30 PM
Washington
Washington 0 2nd Prd
Buffalo 3
Carolina 0 2nd Prd
Columbus 1
Pittsburgh 0 1st Prd 10:48
Detroit 0
Montreal 7:30 PM
Chicago
Arizona 8:00 PM
Edmonton
Fla Atlantic 10/2/14 6:00 PM
FIU
UCF 10/2/14 6:00 PM
Houston
Arizona 10/2/14 9:30 PM
(2) Oregon
Louisville 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Syracuse
San Diego St 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Fresno State
Utah State 10/3/14 9:15 PM
(18) BYU
(6) Texas A&M 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(12) Miss State
Ball State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Army
Iowa State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(21) Oklahoma State
Marshall 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Old Dominion
Southern Miss 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Middle Tennessee
(20) Ohio State 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Maryland
Purdue 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Illinois
Florida 10/4/14 11:00 AM
Tennessee
SMU 10/4/14 11:00 AM
(22) East Carolina
Virginia Tech 10/4/14 11:30 AM
North Carolina
Eastern Mich 10/4/14 1:00 PM
Akron
North Texas 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Indiana
Massachusetts 10/4/14 1:30 PM
Miami-Ohio
Tulsa 10/4/14 2:00 PM
Colorado State
New Mexico 10/4/14 2:30 PM
TX-San Antonio
(3) Alabama 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(11) Ole Miss
(14) Stanford 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(9) Notre Dame
(17) Wisconsin 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Northwestern
Navy 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Air Force
(7) Baylor 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Texas
(4) Oklahoma 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(25) TCU
Wake Forest 10/4/14 2:30 PM
(1) Florida State
NC State 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Clemson
Buffalo 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Bowling Green
Ohio U 10/4/14 2:30 PM
Central Mich
Oregon State 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Colorado
Vanderbilt 10/4/14 3:00 PM
(13) Georgia
Kansas 10/4/14 3:00 PM
West Virginia
Kent State 10/4/14 4:00 PM
Northern Ill
South Alabama 10/4/14 5:00 PM
Appalachian St
Texas-El Paso 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana Tech
(15) LSU 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(5) Auburn
UAB 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Ky
Texas Tech 10/4/14 6:00 PM
(23) Kansas State
Michigan 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rutgers
Hawaii 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Rice
Toledo 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Western Mich
ULM 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Arkansas State
Georgia State 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Louisiana
Idaho 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Texas State
Memphis 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Cincinnati
Arizona State 10/4/14 6:30 PM
(16) USC
So Carolina 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Kentucky
Pittsburgh 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Virginia
Miami-Florida 10/4/14 6:30 PM
Georgia Tech
(19) Nebraska 10/4/14 7:00 PM
(10) Michigan State
UNLV 10/4/14 7:00 PM
San Jose St
Ga Southern 10/4/14 7:00 PM
New Mexico St
California 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Washington St
Utah 10/4/14 9:30 PM
(8) UCLA
Boise State 10/4/14 9:30 PM
Nevada
Winnipeg 10/3/14 6:00 PM
Ottawa
Calgary 10/3/14 9:00 PM
Saskatchewan
Edmonton 10/4/14 3:00 PM
Toronto
Brt Columbia 10/4/14 6:00 PM
Hamilton
Connect with twitterConnect with facebookConnect with Google+Connect with PinterestConnect with PinterestConnect with RssfeedConnect with email newsletters

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

question of the day

Poll: Is Paul Molitor the best choice to manage Twins?

Weekly Question

ADVERTISEMENT

ADVERTISEMENT

 
Close