Liriano looks sharp in 3-inning stint

  • Updated: March 8, 2012 - 7:56 PM

The lefthander working to find his old form struck out five.

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Francisco Liriano struck out five with no walks in three innings of work on Thursday.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores , Star Tribune

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FORT MYERS, FLA. -- Late last spring, Twins lefthander Francisco Liriano had one game against the Orioles when every out he recorded -- all nine -- came via strikeout.

This was better.

Liriano didn't notch as many strikeouts Thursday -- just five -- but using a fastball that scouts clocked between 91 and 95 miles per hour, he held the Rays to one hit over three scoreless innings in a 1-0 loss at Hammond Stadium.

"I'd say that's a pretty good day," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He only threw four sliders in 34 pitches. He controlled the game out there."

Last March 23 against the Orioles, Liriano made headlines with his nine strikeouts in three innings, but he also walked three batters, served up a home run and exhausted himself with 76 pitches.

Liriano said he'd rather give up a hit than a walk, which is why he considered this one of his best spring training outings in years.

"Last year I came in with the shoulder problem," he said. "This year I played winter ball, and I think I got myself ready for spring. I've been getting better at locating my fastball."

JOE CHRISTENSEN

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