It’s official: The Cisco Kid, Francisco Liriano, is returning to the Bus Leagues.
Liriano was sent to Triple-A Rochester before Friday night’s game at Texas, and it was not a surprise. He gave up six runs and got only two outs on Thursday against Oakland, his latest failure to find the strike zone in a return from reconstructive elbow surgery.
“He knew he needed to improve. It wasn’t a shocker to him,” manager Ron Gardenhire said. “He saw where he was at and he knows he’s got work to do. Maybe he can clear his head, get after it down there and get back up here.”
Eleven days was all it took for the Twins to realize that Liriano was not progressing as well as they had hoped following his 2006 elbow surgery. He failed to work more than five innings in any of his three starts, capped by an awful outing on Thursday: 2/3 of an inning, six runs, five hits, three walks, no strikeouts. For the season, half of the batters he has faced (28-of-56) have reached base via hit or walk. His ERA+ stands at 37.
As seen above, Minnesota’s management doesn’t seem to feel that this is a physical problem, but a mental one. In all likelihood, Liriano is just having some trouble shaking off the rust that accumulates during a lengthy rehab such as the one he endured in 2007. It takes some time to get everything working in concert again, including the physical AND mental approach. In Rochester, he’ll have the opportunity to figure it all out.