MINNEAPOLIS, MN - MAY 26: Pitching coach Rick Anderson #40 and Francisco Liriano #47 of the Minnesota Twins speak in the dugout after Liriano pitched seven complete innings against the New York Yankees during their game on May 26, 2010 at Target Field in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Yankees defeated the Twins 3-2. (Photo by Hannah Foslien /Getty Images)

Francisco Liriano Struggling For Twins This Season, Was Nearly Sent To Triple-A Rochester

Francisco Liriano used to be the ace for the Minnesota Twins, but he's struggled quite a bit this season. The pitcher was recently moved to the bullpen, but was almost demoted to playing for Triple-A Rochester.

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Francisco Liriano Moving Back To Rotation, Will Start Wednesday Vs. Oakland

After making five appearances from the bullpen and directly following his worst relief outing, the Minnesota Twins have announced that lefty Francisco Liriano will be moving back to the starting rotation, according to beat writer Rhett Bollinger. He will start next Wednesday against the Oakland A's.

Liriano looked somewhat like the Liriano of old in his first relief appearance, striking out three in two innings while not allowing a hit. In Liriano's first four appearances, in fact, he struck out six in 4.2 innings pitched while giving up just two hits and no runs. In all, he struck out a total of nine batters in seven-plus relief innings.

Walks continued to be an issue for Liriano out of the bullpen, though, much like it has been an issue for him the past two seasons. He walked nearly nine batters per nine innings out of the pen and they came back to hurt him when he finally started allowing some hits in his last appearance on Friday night against the Tigers; he gave up four runs in just 2.2 innings.

At any rate, the Twins never viewed his move to the 'pen as a permanent one. Although he may not have fixed anything, the Twins are hoping it's enough of a wake up call for him to be serviceable in a struggling rotation.

For more on the Twins, head over to Twinkie Town. For more MLB coverage and expert analysis, be sure to check out Baseball Nation.

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Twins Vs. Indians: Francisco Liriano Makes Relatively Successful First Relief Appearance

Minnesota Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano was moved to the bullpen last week after starting the season with just under a 10 earned run average in 26-plus innings as a the "ace" of the team. Tonight against the Cleveland Indians, Liriano made his first appearance in his new role in the seventh inning, relieving starter Carl Pavano and going on to toss two scoreless innings.

Liriano worked a 1-2-3 first inning of relief, getting Jose Lopez and Casey Kotchman to ground out before striking out Shelley Duncan. He followed that up by working a scoreless eighth, but after retiring the first two batters, he got himself into the same kind of trouble that ultimately cost him his spot in the rotation, walking the bases loaded. He left the free passes stranded, though, as he struck out Michael Brantley for his third K in the outing.

Liriano was touching 95 mph and needed 42 pitches to get through the two innings, most coming during the three base on balls in his second inning of work.

For more on the Minnesota Twins, check out Twinkie Town. For more on the Cleveland Indians, head over to Let's Go Tribe. For more news and analysis on Major League Baseball, head over to Baseball Nation.

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Twins Pitcher Francisco Liriano Nearly Demoted To Triple-A For Poor Play

Faced with a tough decision on struggling starter Francisco Liriano, the Minnesota Twins and manager Ron Gardenhire opted to keep the veteran lefty on the big league club on Wednesday by sending him to the bullpen. But the alternative scenario, shipping the woeful Liriano directly to Triple-A Rochester, nearly happened.

Gardenhire though, nixed the idea in the end, mentioning the competition drop-off would likely not be enough to get his pitcher back on track. "You can go down there and throw the ball over and you're going to get people chasing the ball all over the place," he said. "We need him to face major league hitting and bear down and get some major league hitters out."

Liriano is 0-5 with a 9.45 ERA this season after six starts, and looks nothing like the pitcher who won 14 games and posted a 3.62 ERA back in 2010. Even though he would have personally needed to sign off before any demotion happened due to a veteran clause in his contract, there's no denying that Liriano has been nothing short of a hot mess on the mound this year for the Twins.

It will likely take a bevy of successful low-leverage situations for Liriano to gain any confidence back from his manager, but if he can't find he strike zone soon, then a move to Triple-A might just be on the horizon after all.

For more on the Twins, head over to Twinkie Town. For more MLB coverage and expert analysis, be sure to check out Baseball Nation.

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Twins Roster Moves: Francisco Liriano Moved To Bullpen To Shake Things Up

Francisco Liriano has struggled immensely this season, unfortunately, and the Minnesota Twins have finally decided to make a change with their former ace. There's no telling if it'll help, of course, but it certainly shouldn't hurt.

The Twins announced after Wednesday night's loss that Liriano is moving to the bullpen, being replaced by recent call-up P.J. Walters in the rotation. Walters 3-1 in Rochester with a 2.70 ERA, but the move is more important from the Liriano perspective.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told Fox Sports North on Tuesday night that Liriano took the news in stride.

"Frankie said, ‘Whatever you need me to do.' He made sure that he told (pitching coach Rick Anderson) and I that he understood, and that he's not upset about it, and he wants to help the baseball team any way he can," Gardenhire said. "We just gotta get him right. We've got to get him into some situations to try and get him some success."

The plan is to let Liriano get his confidence back up and, eventually, get him back into the rotation.

"He has the best arm on this team and we need to get him some confidence going, get some quality innings out of him, maybe help us win a few ballgames out of the bullpen right now. Eventually we're going to need him as a starter."

Hopefully this works out.

For more on the Minnesota Twins, check out Twinkie Town. You can also head over to SB Nation's main MLB hub at Baseball Nation.

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Twins' Francisco Liriano To Skip Next Start

The Minnesota Twins need Francisco Liriano to get things together sooner rather than later. In lieu of being able to go with the former however, they'll let him rest and get his head straight and resign themselves to the latter. The Pioneer Press is reporting that Liriano will skip his next start for the Twins and take some time off.

Because the Twins have a day off Thursday, they can skip his next start without altering the rotation. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he should be back on the mound on Tuesday, May 1, against the Los Angeles Angels.

Liriano is Minnesota's "ace", but he lacks the consistency that most pitchers with that title have. He's 0-3 with an 11.02 earned-run average after a loss to the Tampa Bay Rays on Sunday. This isn't the first time he's struggled, though it's still up in the air as to whether or not he's got issues with his arm.

Some figure that he does, given his injury history (starting with a torn ligament in his elbow in his rookie season) and the fact that he's battled with issues in that regard throughout his career. If this rest is mostly for his head and that's good for him, then the Twins are in good shape, but if it's to rest his arm just three starts into the season, then there's definitely cause to worry.

For more on the Minnesota Twins, check out Twinkie Town. You can also head over to SB Nation's main MLB hub at Baseball Nation.

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Minnesota Twins Agree To Deals With Francisco Liriano, Glen Perkins

The Minnesota Twins nearly waited until the final buzzer before agreeing to deals with two of their pitchers prior to the MLB's annual arbitration period. The front office got it done, however, as they signed Francisco Liriano and Glen Perkins before things got messy.

The Twins announced both of the deals on Tuesday and, according to the team's website, Liriano will make $5.5 million in 2012 while Perkins earns $1.55 million for his efforts. It's a bit surprising considering both players struggled last season, but it does seem to be a better option than the crapshoot that can be arbitration.

Minnesota isn't in the clear quite yet, however, as they still have an infielder to agree with before arbitration officially begins on Feb. 1.

The lone Twins player eligible for arbitration who remains unsigned is second baseman Alexi Casilla. Casilla, 27, filed his arbitration figure at $1.75 million, while the Twins offered $1.065 million.

Casilla, who batted .260 with a .322 on-base percentage and .368 slugging percentage in 97 games in 2011, made $865,000 last year.

For more on the Minnesota Twins, check out Twinkie Town. You can also head over to SB Nation's main MLB hub at Baseball Nation.

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