Twins pitching coach blames Francisco Liriano’s shoulder soreness on lack of conditioning

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Francisco Liriano was scratched from his first scheduled throwing session of the spring last week because of shoulder soreness, but an MRI exam gave him a clean bill of health and he’s expected to take the mound later this week.

However, in the meantime Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson revealed to LaVelle E. Neal III of the Minneapolis Star Tribune that Liriano did not engage in his team-recommended workouts during the offseason. Neal writes that “Liriano’s shoulder problems stem from him not keeping up with strengthening exercises” and he didn’t start throwing until “the weeks leading to the start of camp.”

Anderson explained that “now his shoulder is strong” because “he’s been doing [the exercises] here,” but clearly the Twins aren’t happy with Liriano’s lack of offseason effort. His work ethic has been questioned previously by the Twins and the situation is particularly noteworthy now because last week Neal’s colleague Joe Christensen reported that the team isn’t interested in signing Liriano to a long-term contract and may look into trading him.

Pujols hits 701st career home run, connects for Cardinals

albert pujols
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ST. LOUIS — Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols hit his 701st home run, connecting Friday night against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Pujols launched a slider from former teammate Johan Oviedo over the Big Mac Land sign in left field at Busch Stadium. The solo drive in the fourth inning made it 1-all.

Pujols faced Oviedo for the first time and made the 24-year-old righty the 456th different pitcher he’s homered against.

The St. Louis star hadn’t homered in a week since hitting No. 699 and 700 at Dodger Stadium last Friday. Pujols had gone 10 at-bats without a home run after two starts and one pinch-hit appearance.

The Busch Stadium crowd gave the 42-year-old Pujols a long standing ovation before he came out of the Cardinals dugout to tip his cap for a curtain call.

Pujols hit his 22nd home run this season for the NL Central champion Cardinals.

Pujols is fourth on the career home run list behind Barry Bonds (762), Hank Aaron (755) and Babe Ruth (714).