Francisco Liriano struggled Sunday for the fourth time in four starts and the Twins have decided to make use of an off day on the schedule to skip his next turn in the rotation.
Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com reports that Liriano will remain on the active roster all week, but won’t see any game action. Instead he’ll throw bullpen sessions Thursday and Saturday in preparation for rejoining the rotation May 1 versus the Angels.
Liriano was a mess for most of last season, but he’s been even worse this year with an 11.02 ERA and more walks (13) than strikeouts (12) in 16 innings as his diminished velocity combines with his terrible command. Moving him to the bullpen or trying to force him to accept a demotion to Triple-A were the Twins’ other options, so skipping one turn in the rotation is certainly the least drastic measure … for now.
The Fernando Rodney Experience hasn’t been a good one for the Twins thus far. The veteran closer served up three runs in the bottom of the ninth inning to the Yankees on Thursday afternoon, erasing a 4-1 lead and blowing his third save in five opportunities.
In the ninth, Didi Gregorius reached on a throwing error by Miguel Sano. Giancarlo Stanton then singled, and Gary Sanchez followed up with a walk-off three-run home run.
Rodney, 41, now sports a 6.75 ERA on the year. He inked a one-year, $4.5 million contract with the Twins back in December. The club has an option for next year worth $4.25 million. If things keep going the way they’re going, the Twins aren’t going to want to pick up that option.
The Twins may even want to think about moving Ryan Pressly or Addison Reed into the closer’s role, even if just temporarily. Pressly has been terrific, tossing 13 scoreless innings with 18 strikeouts. Reed has a 2.25 ERA with 12 strikeouts in 12 innings.