Liriano finds success in simulated game
Crede also passed test, activated before Tuesday's game
TORONTO -- Tuesday afternoon's simulated game was a chance for the Twins to see whether left-hander Francisco Liriano and third baseman Joe Crede were indeed ready to return from the disabled list, and both players passed the test.The Twins activated Crede from the disabled list before Tuesday night's contest and the third baseman was available off the bench. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that he expects to activate Liriano on Wednesday and that the southpaw will be ready to work out of the bullpen for Thursday's series finale against the Blue Jays. Liriano, who has been sidelined with left arm fatigue, threw a total of 42 pitches in the simulated game while facing Crede and a couple other hitters. Everything went well, Gardenhire said, and the club saw more life on Liriano's pitches than they had before he went on the DL. "He was yanking a bit early and then the last couple hitters the ball really came out of his hand nice," Gardenhire said. "He threw a couple of nice sliders and changeups and his fastball was jumping." As for Crede, he said that his back is feeling as good as he would expect at this time of the year. Crede had two epidurals to help ease the pain in his strained lower back and it just took a little bit of time for the shots to fully take effect. "I feel just about right where I need to be after about five or six months of the season," Crede said. "[My back] feels good." After taking batting practice and fielding ground balls at third base on Monday, Crede faced live pitching for the first time since he went on the DL, when he faced Liriano in the simulated game. He saw about 10-15 pitches from the left-hander and said that he feels ready to play again. "The biggest thing is getting your timing down," Crede said. "After going out there and seeing the pitches, you just kind of get yourself in the position where you need to be to go out there and compete on a nightly basis. I felt everything went great." Of course the simulated game was not complete without Twins first-base coach Jerry White getting a few swings in as well. Liriano seemed excited for the opportunity to face White, since it's become tradition for the first-base coach to bat in simulated contests. White got what he was looking for -- a hit off Liriano. In the final at-bat of the game, White blooped a single into left-center which earned him plenty of high-fives from the players gathered behind the batting cage to watch the simulated game. "[Liriano] threw him a couple nice pitches and I think he tried to sneak a fastball by him," Gardenhire said. "As soon as Jerry hit it, he said, 'That's a knock.'...It was a bloop to end the day."
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.