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Ortiz helps Twins give Liriano news

McClatchy Newspapers

The Minnesota Twins cut loose David Ortiz after the 2002 season, thinking they no longer needed him.

Boy, were they wrong. Monday, they needed him to help track down their latest All-Star pitcher, Francisco Liriano.

American League manager Ozzie Guillen knew his White Sox ace, Jose Contreras, had pitched six innings Sunday, and also injured his ankle. Monday afternoon, Guillen replaced him on the active All-Star roster with Liriano, the Twins' wunderkind.

Liriano had already left for the Dominican Republic. No one was sure how to reach him. So Guillen asked Ortiz, a former Twin and a Dominican native, to work the phones.

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Ortiz did so in the AL clubhouse. Eventually, the Twins found Liriano and asked whether he would be willing to fly on Tuesday to Pittsburgh and be available to pitch. Liriano was thrilled.

"It's awesome news," Twins pitcher Johan Santana said. "He deserves it."

One of five finalists for the last spot on the AL squad, Liriano was initially beaten out by Chicago catcher A.J. Pierzynski in an online vote. Santana and catcher Joe Mauer are Minnesota's other representatives for the All-Star game, held Tuesday night in Pittsburgh.

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