Rainout gives Twins time to ponder
Team has a few more days to make decision on Liriano
CHICAGO — The Minnesota Twins now have a few more days to decide whether to call up Francisco Liriano.
With rain postponing their game against the Chicago White Sox on Thursday until June 9, the Twins simply will move their starters back a day. That filled a potential hole in their rotation for Sunday and delayed a decision involving Liriano.
Livan Hernandez was scheduled to pitch against fellow Cuban Jose Contreras on Thursday, but he’ll start Friday at Kansas City against Gil Meche, followed by Boof Bonser on Saturday and Nick Blackburn on Sunday. Scott Baker is scheduled to pitch Monday at Detroit, but it’s not clear who will start on Tuesday.
One possibility is Liriano.
An All-Star in 2006, he missed last season while recuperating from elbow surgery. The rainout gave the Twins a little more time to decide whether to call him up from the minors.
Minnesota might have needed a starter to fill in Sunday for Kevin Slowey, who has a strained right biceps and missed a throwing session on Wednesday. Now, the Twins won’t need to make a decision until Tuesday.
Liriano is on schedule to pitch Sunday, but he was shaky in a start for Triple-A Rochester on Tuesday.
The left-hander threw 88 pitches in four innings against the Baltimore Orioles’ top affiliate in Norfolk, allowing three runs on five hits and walking three. Not that manager Ron Gardenhire was concerned.
"The weather was brutal, they missed plays behind him, and he wasn’t great, either," Gardenhire said. "It wasn’t the perfect condition to be pitching in. He got his work in and is healthy."
And Gardenhire said he would have no qualms sending Liriano to the mound for the Twins. He just wouldn’t say when that will happen.
While the Twins pushed their starters back a day, the White Sox juggled their rotation a bit.
Contreras will face Detroit’s Dontrelle Willis on Friday, with Gavin Floyd pitching Saturday. Javier Vazquez will take the mound on Sunday instead of Mark Buehrle, who will pitch against Oakland the following day.
After a dramatic home opener on Monday in which Joe Crede hit a tiebreaking grand slam to lift the White Sox to a 7-4 victory, the Twins returned the favor with a 12-5 pounding on Wednesday. Chicago manager Ozzie Guillen was curious to see how his team would respond after its five-game winning streak ended, but he’ll have to wait another day.
"We’re not going to win 162 games," he said. "But every time we lose a game, we need to bounce back and play better."