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Garza up; Liriano may be headed to disabled list

By Joe Christensen

McClatchy Newspapers

DETROIT -- As the Matt Garza Express pulled into Comerica Park on Tuesday, Minnesota Twins manager Ron Gardenhire had the weary look of a man who knew how promising -- and fragile -- 22-year-old pitching prospects can be.

The proof was right in the same clubhouse, where rookie All-Star Francisco Liriano, 22, had just seen his extraordinary season derailed.

On the same day the Twins promoted Garza from Class AAA Rochester, they made plans to place Liriano on the 15-day disabled list with left elbow soreness.

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As recently as Monday, the Twins had hoped the right-handed Garza could join the left-handed Liriano in the rotation. Now, they'll hope one phenom helps replace the other.

Liriano, who is 12-3 and leads the majors with a 2.19 ERA, is scheduled to be re-examined by the team's orthopedic physician, Dan Buss, on Thursday in Minnesota.

"The ultimate goal here is to protect our young pitchers," Gardenhire said. "We're going to miss having (Liriano) in the rotation -- a great arm like that." The Twins were 17-24 before Liriano joined the rotation May 19. They entered Tuesday as a completely different team, at 65-46.

Liriano was scheduled to pitch Saturday, but Gardenhire said the team would place him on the DL and promote either Scott Baker or Boof Bonser to take the prized left-hander's spot.

Garza, who began the year at Class A Fort Myers, will make his major league debut Friday against Toronto.

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