Twins lefthander Francisco Liriano will be skipped the next time through the rotation and return to the mound on May 1 against the Angels, Manager Ron Gardenhire said today.
The Twins have an open date Thursday, so the other starters won't be affected. Liriano won't be used out of the bullpen. He'll have two bullpen sessions in between starts, allowing him to work on his mechanics, but it sounds like the biggest thing he needs is a mental break.
* Alexi Casilla was scratched from tonight's lineup with flu symptoms. Trevor Plouffe will take over at second base, and Chris Parmelee will be in left field.
* Josh Willingham's wife is expecting a baby this week. He's scheduled to begin a paternity leave on Wednesday and could be out through Friday's game. The Twins can replace him on the roster for those three days.
Willingham is the DH tonight. Gardenhire said he would have given him a day to DH sooner, but Willingham had a 15-game hitting streak going until Sunday, and they didn't want to mess with it.
The schedule has been extremely tough on the Twins since they flopped at Baltimore to start the season.
There really is no shame for the Twins in going 5-8 over a 13-game stretch against the Angels, Rangers, Yankees and Rays, especially when that includes four games at Yankee Stadium.
As they always say, it’s not who you play, but when you play them. And with that in mind, this next 15-game stretch is very interesting. Yes, the Red Sox are in town, and the Twins have six more games coming up against the Angels, but neither of those teams is above .500. In fact, the combined record of the teams in this 15-game stretch is 20-42.
The Red Sox are riding a five-game losing streak, and the Royals are riding a 10-game losing streak, so this homestand gives the Twins a real opportunity. It seems like they’re catching these teams at a good time, but then again, as brutal as things have gone for the Red Sox, they still have Jon Lester and Josh Beckett pitching these first two games.
Lester lasted just two innings in his last start against Texas, allowing seven runs, but his first two starts were very good.
RED SOX (4-10)
1. Mike Aviles, SS
2. Ryan Sweeney, RF
3. Dustin Pedroia, 2B
4. Adrian Gonzalez, 1B
5. David Ortiz, DH
6. Kevin Youkilis, 3B
7. Jarrod Saltalamacchia, C
8. Cody Ross, RF
9. Marlon Byrd, CF
Starting pitcher: LH Jon Lester (0-2, 5.82)
1. Denard Span, CF
2. Jamey Carroll, SS
3. Joe Mauer, C
4. Josh Willingham, DH
5. Justin Morneau, 1B
6. Ryan Doumit, RF
7. Danny Valencia, 3B
8. Chris Parmelee, LF
9. Trevor Plouffe, 2B
Starting pitcher: RH Jason Marquis (1-0, 7.20)
Target Field. First pitch: 7:10 p.m. TV: FSN. Twins Radio Network
Follow us on Twitter: @JoeCStrib @LaVelleNeal @SouhanStrib @ChipScoggins