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07/23/08 1:45 PM ET
Liriano turns in dominating performance
Lefty strikes out 10 over seven scoreless innings at Triple-A
By Kelly Thesier / MLB.com
NEW YORK -- The Twins' front office has said repeatedly that they want to see left-hander Francisco Liriano dominate at Triple-A Rochester before he returns to Minnesota. And while Liriano might not be happy that he's still in the Minors, he's doing everything to prove he deserves to be back with the big league club. Liriano delivered perhaps his best start of the season for Rochester on Tuesday night in a 13-0 win against Toledo. He pitched seven scoreless innings, giving up only two hits and two walks while striking out 10. It was his ninth consecutive win for the Red Wings. "I'm ready," Liriano told the Rochester Democrat and Chronicle after his latest start. The 24-year-old left-hander has been making a pretty strong case for a callup lately. In his past five starts, Liriano has a 0.26 ERA while allowing just one earned run over 35 innings. His win on Tuesday night brought his record on the season to 9-2 with a 3.13 ERA at Rochester. Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that the reports on the latest start for the pitcher were once again positive. Liriano's fastball averaged around 90 mph, topping out around 93 mph. He was using his slider and changeup effectively to strike out opposing batters. "He basically did what he is supposed to do," Gardenhire said. "He shut them down against a good team." There haven't been any indications that this latest start will change Liriano's current status. Liriano's agent, Greg Genske, asked the players' union last week to investigate why Liriano has yet to be called up. But while the Twins have acknowledged Liriano's recent success and have been pleased with his results, the feeling is that there is no room currently in Minnesota's rotation for him.
Kelly Thesier is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.