9:25 p.m. EDT: The Twins said it was actually Liriano’s recent illness that caused his departure after three innings. Liriano, who was originally supposed to pitch Monday, was pushed back until today because of a sore throat and other flu-like symptoms.
Francisco Liriano was checked on by the Twins trainer with an apparent leg issue during an intentional walk in the third inning Tuesday and didn’t come back out for the fourth against the Tigers.
Liriano, who was coming off a no-hitter against the White Sox, gave up a two-run homer to Jhonny Peralta in the second inning, snapping his streak of hitless innings. He went on to give up two more runs after the intentional walk to Miguel Cabrera in the third.
Liriano appeared to tweak the knee of his landing leg on the second pitch of the intentional walk, which ended up quite a bit higher and further off the plate than expected. After two warmup throws, he made it clear he was fine to stay in. However, given his struggles and history of arm problems, the Twins probably didn’t want to risk anything by letting him come back out for another inning. He had thrown just 29 of his 59 pitches for strikes.
Brian Duensing, who was on his throw day in between starts, came in to begin the fourth inning with the Twins down 4-0.
Dodgers’ left fielder Andrew Toles crushed his first spring training home run on Saturday afternoon. With the bases loaded and a two-run deficit hanging over their heads in the fourth inning, Toles stepped up to the plate against Oakland right-hander Jesse Hahn and unloaded a grand slam on the second pitch he saw.
Third baseman Justin Turner was quick to follow up with a solo jack of his own, bringing the score to a comfortable 7-4 lead by the end of the fourth. Another three-run outburst in the fifth and an eighth-inning RBI single by Austin Barnes raised the final score to 11-6… which, coincidentally, was the same score the Reds used to defeat the Athletics’ second split-squad lineup on Saturday (albeit with a few more RBI walks than grand slams).
Toles, 24, is approaching his sophomore season with the Dodgers in 2017. He slashed .314/.365/.505 with three home runs and an .870 OPS in his first major league season in 2016 and is expected to platoon with the right-handed Franklin Gutierrez in left field this year.
David Price showed “strength improvements” in his elbow on Saturday, but Red Sox’ manager John Farrell still doesn’t think the left-hander will be ready to throw by the start of the season — or for a few weeks afterward. According to ESPN’s Scott Lauber, the 31-year-old might not be ready to debut until May at the earliest.
Price hasn’t thrown off of a mound this spring after experiencing soreness in his left elbow on March 1. Surgery doesn’t appear to be necessary, but the Red Sox are playing it extra safe with their No. 3 starter in hopes that rest and rehabilitation will return him to full health sometime during the 2017 season. For now, Price has been restricted to short games of catch until he’s cleared to resume a more rigorous throwing program. Via MLB.com’s Ian Browne:
[There were] strength improvements to the point of putting the ball back in his hand a little more consistently,” said manager John Farrell. “Today’s the first step for that. A short game of catch. That’s what he’s going through. Not off a mound but just to get the arm moving with a ball in flight, and he will continue in this phase for a period of time. There’s no set distance and volume yet to the throws.
The lefty is coming off of a lackluster 2016 season, during which he delivered a 3.99 ERA, 2.0 BB/9 and 8.9 SO/9 over 230 innings for the Red Sox.