Tuesday, July 11, 2006
Twins' Liriano has full day before game even begins
PITTSBURGH -- Off the plane at 3:20 p.m. On the field for warmups less than three hours later.
Minnesota Twins pitcher Francisco Liriano had quite a day before the All-Star Game even began.
"I want to thank [AL manager] Ozzie Guillen for giving me the opportunity and thinking about me," said Liriano, a first-time selection who replaced White Sox starter Jose Contreras on the roster. Contreras pitched Sunday, so the AL decided it needed a fresh arm for the All-Star Game.
Not a bad choice. Liriano is 10-1 with a 1.83 ERA, and has 102 strikeouts in only 88 1/3 innings.
Liriano had been left off the original roster and lost out on Internet fan voting for the last spot, so he headed home to the Dominican Republic for the break. League officials initially had trouble finding him Monday to inform him of his last-minute selection before tracking him down with the help of Boston star David Ortiz.
Though he is only a rookie, Liriano said he's used to the hubbub surrounding big events.
"When I was at the World Baseball Classic, I got a little of this," he said as he surveyed the players and media throng around him. "I'm a little happy here, too."
Liriano joined teammate and Cy Young winner Johan Santana on the AL staff. The left-handers have often been compared to each other for their power-pitching style.
"Yeah, I like him. Johan is a great guy," Liriano said. "I just want to keep doing whatever he's doing."