Twins choose Carl Pavano, not Francisco Liriano, as Opening Day starter

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Ron Gardenhire announced this afternoon that Carl Pavano will be Minnesota’s starter on Opening Day, which is noteworthy because the Twins chose Francisco Liriano over Pavano to start Game 1 of the ALDS against the Yankees just four months ago.

Perhaps picking Pavano for Opening Day has everything to do with his veteran-ness or maybe the Twins went with Liriano in Game 1 of the playoffs mostly because they felt he matched up better specifically against the Yankees, but whatever the case today’s announcement only adds to the recent speculation about the team souring on Liriano.

Last week Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune reported that the Twins weren’t interested in signing Liriano to a long-term contract extension despite his being eligible for free agency after 2012 and are opening to trading the 27-year-old left-hander who had a 3.62 ERA and 201 strikeouts in 192 innings last year.

Earlier this week, after Liriano had to push back his first throwing session of spring training due to some minor shoulder soreness, pitching coach Rick Anderson told LaVelle E. Neal III of the Star Tribune that Liriano’s lack of offseason training led to the soreness.

Taken individually the reports, speculation, public criticisms, and passing him over for the Opening Day start may not seem like much, but together they certainly paint the picture of a team frustrated with their young ace or perhaps not even looking deep enough at his performance to realize that he’s actually their ace. Ultimately everyone in the rotation is going to start 32-34 times as long as they stay healthy, so the Opening Day assignment isn’t especially meaningful, but in this case it definitely adds more fuel to the Liriano fire.

Indians unveil red alternate jersey, Wahoo-free caps

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The Cleveland Indians unveiled a new alternate home jersey today. It’s a red top with a script “Indians” on the front. It’ll be worn for occasional home games next year. It’ll be the first time the Indians have worn red jerseys since the 1970s, though these are not throwbacks to those Buddy Bell/Boog Powell-era kits they once wore, as you can see below. 

The Indians also unveiled their other uniforms. They’re basically identical to what they’ve worn in the past, except no Chief Wahoo, who has been phased out of the team’s livery. A block C has replaced Wahoo on the cap, with both the red-bill and the solid blue block C continuing. Jersey patches of Wahoo are gone too, replaced for this year by the guitar-shaped 2019 All-Star Game logo. No word on what they’ll do for a patch beyond that. 

Overall it’s a modest upgrade rather than than the total redesign that they might’ve done given that they had to change caps and stuff anyway, but anything without Wahoo his welcome.

 

Cleveland’s caps as well as its home and road jerseys will feature the guitar-shaped 2019 All-Star Game logo. Cleveland is hosting the 75th event in July.

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