Liriano will be fifth starter after impressive outing vs. PiratesMinnesota Sports
- It appears Francisco Liriano has locked down the number five spot in the Twins' pitching rotation after pitching six shutout innings in yesterday's 4-1 Grapefruit League win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
FT. MEYERS, Fla. - It appears Francisco Liriano has locked down the number five spot in the Twins' pitching rotation after pitching six shutout innings in yesterday's 4-1 Grapefruit League win over the Pittsburgh Pirates.
Facing a lineup that didn't include any of the projected starters for the Pirates, Liriano struck out eight and walked three while going six innings in his final appearance of the spring. In six starts, Liriano had a two-point-seven-oh earned run average with 30 strikeouts in 20 innings. Liriano says he's always wanted to be a starter, although the Twins are still considering the lefthander for the closer role following Joe Nathan's season-ending elbow surgery.
Opening Day starter Scott Baker makes his final appearance of the spring today when the Twins host the Rays at Hammond Stadium. Half of the squad is in Tampa to play the Yankees, with Brian Duensing (dun'-sing) getting the start there.
Justin Morneau's new approach toward the preseason hasn't help his batting average in Grapefruit League games. After going hitless in three at-bats during yesterday's 4-1 win over the Pirates in Fort Myers, Morneau is now saddled with a .171 batting average. Before this year, Morneau had arrived early for Spring Training. But concerns about late-season slumps and a back injury that forced him to miss the last two months of the 2009 campaign prompted the former AL Most Valuable Player to cut back on early workouts. The team's top hitter in Spring Training is Michael Cuddyer at .458, while Joe Mauer is at .429 while Jason Kubel leads with four home runs. Brendan Harris leads the team with 11 R-B-I's, and he'll likely start the regular season at third base. The Twins begin the 2010 campaign on Monday in Los Angeles against the Angels.