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.

Blue Jays place Aaron Sanchez on 10-day disabled list

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The Blue Jays placed right-hander Aaron Sanchez on the 10-day disabled list with a contusion in his right index finger, per a team announcement on Saturday. The assignment is retroactive to Friday. In a corresponding move, righty Marcus Stroman was activated from the DL (right shoulder fatigue) and will take the mound for the Blue Jays at 9:07 PM ET tonight.

Sanchez, 25, is in his fifth season with the club. He hasn’t looked his sharpest so far this year, going 3-5 in 15 starts with a career-worst 4.52 ERA, 5.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 through 79 2/3 innings. It’s not yet clear how long he’ll be sidelined, though he could miss as little as one turn in the rotation before returning to the roster in the next week or two.

Sanchez isn’t the only struggling starter in Toronto’s rotation, either. Per MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm, the team placed southpaw Jaime Garcia on the DL (right shoulder tenderness) as well, with lefty reliever Tim Mayza scheduled to take his spot on the roster. In 13 starts this season, Garcia carried a 2-6 record, 6.16 ERA, 4.5 BB/9 and 8.2 SO/9 over 61 1/3 innings. Any further decisions pertaining to the rotation — including Tuesday’s starter against the Astros — have yet to be publicly addressed.