FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano's troubles with his consistency were on full display in the Twins' 8-2 loss to the Blue Jays on Tuesday.
Liriano looked great early, retiring the first six batters he faced, but then surrendered four runs on four hits and a hit-by-pitch in the third inning.
He was also hit hard that frame, as Travis Snider hit a two-run double off the right-field wall before Travis d'Arnaud added a two-run double of his own that landed just short of the wall in right.
"I think I was rushing out there like I always do," said Liriano, who has a 4.50 ERA in eight Grapefruit League innings. "I was trying to throw too hard with my fastball and made a couple of mistakes. I was missing my spots."
Liriano was frustrated after his outing, and he talked with bullpen coach Rick Stelmaszek about what he needs to do to improve.
"He told me to calm down and relax and try not to overthrow," Liriano said. "I can't get mad at myself like that. He had to calm me down. I was kind of rushing and trying to do too much. I was mad that I was missing my spots."
Span hopes to return from neck stiffness soon
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins center fielder Denard Span missed his second straight game with neck stiffness on Tuesday, but he said he hopes to be back in the lineup on Wednesday.
Span, who originally tweaked his neck during outfield practice before Saturday's game, saw a chiropractor on Monday to get his neck adjusted.
He took batting practice before Tuesday's game against the Blue Jays and reported no problems. He was also on the list to travel to Wednesday's game against the Phillies in Clearwater, Fla.
"I feel a lot better compared to the way I felt two days ago," Span said. "My range of motion is a lot better. Hopefully soon I'll be back out there."
Span, who maintains the injury isn't related to the concussion-like symptoms that bothered him last season, is batting .385 with a .467 on-base percentage in five games this spring.
Joining Span on the trip to Clearwater is shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka, who missed the last two games with a sprained left pinkie. He's expected to start at shortstop.
Infielder Steve Pearce will miss the trip, however, as he exited Tuesday's game with a strained right calf and is day to day.
Trio of relievers sharp against Blue Jays
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins relievers Kyle Waldrop, Jared Burton and Matt Maloney continued to state their cases to join the bullpen out of camp, as they combined to retire all 10 batters they faced against the Blue Jays on Tuesday.
Waldrop threw a 1-2-3 fourth inning with a strikeout before Burton tossed a perfect fifth inning with two strikeouts. Maloney struck out Anthony Gose to end the sixth before retiring the side in order in the seventh with two more strikeouts.
The three pitchers have combined to throw 12 1/3 scoreless innings with 15 strikeouts and two walks so far this spring.
"We're going to try to find the best pitchers and see what works," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "We brought all these guys in to take looks at them. We're going to come out with a good bullpen. If we think guys are going to do better than what we had in place last year, then that's what we're going to do."
And while Waldrop, Burton and Maloney fared well, right-hander Alex Burnett gave up four runs on five hits and a balk. Burnett, who posted a 5.51 ERA in 50 2/3 innings with the Twins last year, now has a 16.68 ERA in Grapefruit League play.
"He didn't locate the ball," Gardenhire said. "That's all we're talking about with him. The stuff is there, but he misfired and threw the ball over the plate and hurt himself out there a little bit."
Twins impressed with prospect Dozier
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- The Twins continue to be impressed by shortstop Brian Dozier, who was named the club's Minor League Player of the Year last year and is its No. 14 overall prospect.
Dozier, 24, went 2-for-4 with a triple and a walk against the Rays on Monday, with both of the hits coming against James Shields, who is projected to be Tampa Bay's Opening Day starter.
Dozier's lone mistake came in the 10th inning, when he dropped a throw from catcher Danny Lehmann on a stolen base from Jesus Feliciano.
"I just want him to play, get out there and play," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "I liked him last year, like I said. He dropped the one throw out there at second, tried to tag the guy a little too quick. Those are all the things that you hear. He gets a little sloppy at times, but he's been really good for us. That's the first mistake he's made as far as not catching the ball first, and he's been working really hard at it all spring. He's slowed his game down a lot, and that's what you have to do."
Slowing down the game is the key for Dozier, as he's yet to play above Double-A. But he fared well in the Minors last year, hitting .320/.399/.491 while splitting time at Class A Fort Myers and Double-A New Britain.
"I think the biggest thing since I got to camp this year is to kind of have to adapt at slowing the game down," said Dozier, who is hitting .231 in seven games this spring. "When you get to the big leagues, that's all I hear is to slow the game down -- defensively, offensively, everything. And then I think that's the biggest thing with me. I just have to keep slowing the game down. I work on that in practice."
Two Minors players get 50-game suspensions
FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Twins Minor League pitchers Yeison Florentino and Ezequiel Zarzuela received 50-game suspensions following their violations of the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program, the Office of the Commissioner announced Tuesday.
Florentino, 20, tested positive for metabolites of Nandrolone. The right-hander has a career 2.98 ERA with 29 strikeouts and 37 walks in 42 1/3 innings over two seasons in the Dominican Summer League.
Zarzuela, 21, tested positive for metabolites of Stanozolol. In two seasons in the Dominican Summer League, the right-hander has a career 2.65 ERA with 76 strikeouts and 39 walks in 88 1/3 innings.
Both players are still members of the organization's Dominican Summer League team. The suspensions of both players are effective at the start of this season.