Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Twins lose opener in Chicago

Pat Neshek was throwing the pitches too flat in the Twins loss at the White Sox Monday and my prior comments about him looking more seasoned and strong this year are on the back burner.

Nick Blackburn was again serviceable as a starter, going five innings, but he still allowed seven hits, two walks and two earned runs. It's not a surprise by any means that the young Twins pitchers are praised when they get into the sixth inning, but the relief crew is going to become overworked at this rate.

News from Rochester tonight wasn't great, either. It was also expected news to those of us in the Bullpen: Francisco Liriano had a rough outing. I've predicted Liriano won't be with the Twins for several weeks because pitchers just don't come back from major arm tendon surgery quickly. He needs to build arm strength and endurance. It doesn't even matter the quality of his outings so long as he throws 80 pitches in game situations.

So no miracles in Class AAA, but it's good news everyday the kid isn't back on the DL. If he can possibly recover enough to make the Twins again, it'll be as a middle reliever first. Of course, true to my optimistic demeanor, I don't think Liriano will be a true big league pitcher until 2009 and I'm not that sure about it then.

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