Five more shutout innings for Liriano gives Twins lefthander boost

The Twins lefthander has a 2.00 ERA this spring after his second consecutive start of five shutout innings.

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Francisco Liriano, shown earlier during spring training.

Photo: Elizabeth Flores , Star Tribune

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TAMPA, FLA. — Francisco Liriano added five shutout innings to his increasingly impressive spring training totals Friday.

The Twins lefthander eased through a Yankees split squad lineup that was watered down but still had Derek Jeter, Mark Teixeira and Alex Rodriguez in it. But Liriano mixed his pitches effectively in holding New York to four hits and one walk while striking out five and getting two double plays in a 6-4 loss.

"Yeah, everything's working the way I want to right now,'' said Liriano, who threw five no-hit innings vs. Pittsburgh in his previous start Sunday. "Like I've said before, pitching is all about location. I think I've been locating my pitches better, and my pitches are better than they were last year, too. So everything has been great so far."

Liriano struck Rodriguez out twice. The second time, Liriano got ahead with a changeup, then hammered A-Rod with three sliders, getting him to strike out swinging on the third one.

Liriano lowered his spring training ERA to 2.00 with three walks and 23 strikeouts.

"Everything came from just locating my fastball,'' he said. "I'm just focused on that, and it's working so far."

Doumit at first base

Ryan Doumit has made 32 career starts at first base. Of the three positions he can play, catcher and outfield being the other two, he lists first base last as far as comfort is considered.

"First base is just the type of position I just haven't played that much to really feel that comfortable,'' he said.

But he might be needed to play some at first base this season, especially if Justin Morneau needs to be the designated hitter more.

On the first play of the game Friday, Jeter send a check-swing soft liner down the first base line that got past Doumit for a single. It looked like his reaction time was a tad off.

"He was picking on me, man,'' Doumit joked. "It was one of those things where he hit it on the right spot. I don't think I could have gotten to it. I'm sure it looked kind of funny, diving for the ball after it was by me. It's one of those things where I'm not used to seeing the ball off the bat from that close yet.''

Doumit said he expects his pregame work at first to increase, mentioning that manager Ron Gardenhire and former manager Tom Kelly have been helping him out.

"Hopefully, I can turn the corner on my comfort level,'' he said.

Etc.

• Outfielder Trevor Plouffe, slowed this week by a sore hamstring, could be back by Monday.

• Shortstop Jamey Carroll was 1-for-5 with a walk and third baseman Danny Valencia was 2-for-4 with a double as they played in a minor league game against Class A Charlotte of the Rays chain.

On deck

The Twins play host to Tampa Bay on Saturday in a game that will start at 2:05 p.m. The Twins will need a replacement starter for righthander Jason Marquis, who has left camp to deal with a family issue. Righthander Jeremy Hellickson will start for the Rays.

 

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Philadelphia - LP: K. Kendrick 2 FINAL
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LA Angels - LP: G. Richards 3 FINAL
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Cleveland - WP: C. Kluber 2
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Toronto - WP: M. Buehrle 6 FINAL
Boston - LP: B. Workman 1
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NY Yankees - LP: H. Kuroda 2 FINAL
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Minnesota - LP: P. Hughes 2 FINAL
Kansas City - WP: J. Frasor 3
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Toronto FC 0 FINAL
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New England 3
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