Watching Liriano

March 4, 2011 – I checked out Francisco Liriano’s first start of the spring on Field 3 this morning against a collection of Tampa Rays minor leaguers in a “B” game that started at 10 AM local time. I got there just as the Twins took the field and Liriano was throwing his warm up pitches. The first thing I noticed was that there was a very nice crowd already assembled to watch Liriano. The Twins keep denying that Liriano is being shopped but by my count there were at least 20 scouts there representing everyone from the Yankees to the Marlins and a lot of teams in between. There were 5 or 6 radar guns at the ready each time Liriano threw a pitch and Liriano threw 36 pitches in his first stint on the mound in a ST game. Francisco was wild and gave up 3 hits, a couple of walks and hit a batter and catcher Drew Butera went out to the mound calm his pitcher down several times. After his two innings were up pitching coach Rick Anderson pulled him aside and he talked and Liriano nodded and listened for several minutes and then Gardy joined in and he had a few comments for Francisco too. It did not appear to be an intense session, more of a “this is your first time out and maybe you can do this a bit better but all in all we are satisfied” type of a chat. I don’t know what was said for a fact because I am not a lip reader but I am just guessing based on what I saw of the body language of both Anderson and Liriano. I am sure that Francisco was disappointed in his outing and Anderson and Gardenhire were just trying to boost his morale. The big young right hander Deolis Guerra followed Liriano on the mound and he got beat around a bit, I know that Guerra is very young but he has been in organized ball since 2006 and he throws in the low 90’s regularly but he has to learn how to pitch, all he ever seems to do is throw it as hard as he can and hope that the batter misses it. Guerra is all the Twins have left from the Johan Santana trade but to me it looks like that trade will turn out to be a total bust for Minnesota. After Guerra left the game, another big righty David Bromberg took to the hill for the Twins and he too got hit around a bit. I left after 6 innings so I do not know what the final score of the game turned out to be, I had other fish to catch.

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