It turns out that Francisco Liriano’s stint as a reliever won’t even last three weeks.
On the heels of Anthony Swarzak being knocked around for six runs over just 3 1/3 innings last night against the Tigers, the Twins will move Liriano back into the starting rotation Wednesday against the Athletics.
Liriano was removed from the rotation earlier this month after beginning the season 0-5 with a 9.45 ERA and 21/19 K/BB ratio over six starts. He wasn’t much better out of the bullpen, posting a 4.91 ERA and 9/7 K/BB ratio over 7 1/3 innings, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com that he hopes the southpaw can add some stability to a rotation which has experienced quite a bit of turnover recently.
“We liked the way he was handling himself out there, and he needs to get back out there,” Gardenhire said. “We need him in our rotation. We can’t just keep bouncing around from guy to guy.”
Liriano has a 5.77 ERA over 168 1/3 innings dating back to the start of the 2011 season, so there’s not much optimism for a return to form, but he could draw some trade interest if he enjoys some success. The 28-year-old is due to hit free agency following the season.
Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.