Twins starter Francisco Liriano skipped a scheduled bullpen session Friday because he had a bit of tightness in his throwing shoulder. For a guy with his injury history, any kind of abnormal discomfort is concerning, but he is going to survive this little issue.
According to Phil Mackey of Minneapolis’ ESPN 1500 AM, Liriano checked out fine this morning in an examination by doctors.
He even played catch from 120 feet and told reporters that he is hoping to throw a bullpen session within the next couple of days.
Liriano, 27, went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA and 1.26 WHIP over 31 starts last season. He struck out an ace-like 201 batters in 191.2 innings and is expected to serve as the Twinkies’ No. 1 starter this year.
Gleeman touched on Liriano’s impending free agency and failed extension talks last week.
All spring training there was at least some mild confusion about Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman. He played in almost no regular big league spring training games, instead, staying on the back fields, playing in simulated and minor league contests. When that usually happens, it’s because a player is rehabbing or even hiding an injury, but the Nats insisted that was not the case with Zimmerman. Not everyone believed it. I, for one, was skeptical.
The skepticism was unwarranted, as Zimmerman answered the bell for Opening Day and has played all season. As Jared Diamond of the Wall Street Journal writes today, it was all by design. He skipped spring training because he doesn’t like it and because he thinks it’ll help him avoid late-season injuries and slowdowns, the likes of which he has suffered over the years.
It’s hard to really judge this now, of course. On the one hand Zimmerman has started really slow this season. What’s more, he has started to show signs of warming up only in the past week, after getting almost as many big league, full-speed plate appearances under his belt as a normal spring training would’ve given him. On the other hand, April is his worst month across his entire 14-year career, so one slow April doesn’t really prove anything and, again, Zimmerman and the Nats will consider this a success if he’s healthy and productive in August and September.
It is sort of a missed opportunity, though. Players hate spring training. They really do. if Zimmerman had made a big deal out of skipping it and came out raking this month, I bet a lot more teams would be amenable to letting a veteran or three take it much more easy next spring. Good ideas can be good ideas even if they don’t produce immediately obvious results, but baseball tends to encourage a copycat culture only when someone can point to a stat line or to standings as justification.
Way to ruin it for everyone, Ryan. 😉