By La Velle
The Twins are very pleased with Francisco Liriano’s progress over his past two outings but feel he still needs a couple more starts. So they optioned him to Class A Fort Myers on Friday, which allows righthander Nick Blackburn to make the Opening Day rotation.
Liriano, who has struck out 12 batters over his last nine innings, will start for Fort Myers on Thursday. It actually helps him some because his wife, who is pregnant, will have labor induced on Friday.
Liriano then will join Class AAA Rochester for a start. Liriano should be able to sharpen his pitches over these outings and have the stamina to throw 100 in a game. He’s then expected to join the Twins on their road trip to Chicago, Kansas City and Detroit.
The Twins rotation against the Angels is as follows
Monday, Mar. 31: Livan Hernandez vs. Jared Weaver
Tuesday, Apr. 1: Boof Bonser vs Jon Garland
Wednesday, Apr. 2: Nick Blackburn vs Joe Saunders
Thursday, Apr. 3: Kevin Slowey vs Ervin Santana
and Scott Baker will pitch the first game of the series with Kansas City on Apr. 4 if all goes well Sunday.