Radke Tames Tigers, Liriano To The Shelf

In this edition of Twins Inside Pitch, Francisco Liriano is to have an advanced MRI, while Matt Garza is expected to make his first Major League start on Friday. Also, Brad Radke shuts down the Tigers in Game 2 of a very important series for the Twins, and Rondell White strokes a double in his return to the starting lineup.

Out with one rookie phenom, in with the next.

That was the theme of the day for the Twins on Tuesday when they announced plans to place Francisco Liriano (12-3) on the disabled list with elbow inflammation, and recalled Matt Garza, their top pitching prospect, from Triple-A Rochester.

But it's expecting too much to expect Garza to replace in any respect the 22-year-old left-hander who resurrected a struggling rotation in May and who goes to the DL with the top ERA in the majors (2.19).

In fact, the pair of moves Tuesday merely serves to underscore how deep the Twins' rotation issues have sunk after finally seeming to right the ship at midseason.

Garza, who leads the minor leagues with 14 victories and 154 strikeouts, was due up, regardless, to become the latest to take a shot at the troublesome No. 5 spot in the rotation. He's scheduled to make his major league debut when he starts Friday.

Replacing Liriano will be far more problematic, with Scott Baker expected to be brought back from Triple-A for a third shot this season at sticking in the rotation.

If Garza, who got his third promotion of the season after opening in Single-A, doesn't make the remarkable jump to the majors at remarkable speed Friday, and Baker doesn't suddenly discover the secret to sticking in the majors, the final six weeks of the season could be the longest the Twins have experienced in years.

REPLAY: Brad Radke provided some optimism for a listing rotation Tuesday when he pitched a surprisingly strong seven innings to beat the first-place Tigers in Detroit, 4-2. The Twins were 0-7 in Detroit this year before that, with just one more game, Wednesday, in Detroit this year.

Radke (11-8), who lasted only three innings two starts ago because of stiffness in his damaged right shoulder, turned in his second straight impressive start, albeit his eight-inning start last time came against woeful Kansas City.

Radke, who improved to 7-1 in his past eight decisions, allowed just two runs on seven hits and won for the first time in three tries at Detroit this year. Radke, who has said he'll retire after this season, has pitched for more than two years with a labrum tear, which has worsened this year with the addition of natural wear and tear.

NOTES, QUOTES:

  • RHP Matt Garza, who on Tuesday became the first Twins' prospect in at least a decade to rise from Single-A to the majors in one season, had an overall 14-4 record and 1.99 ERA combined at Single-A Fort Myers, Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester -- with a minor-league-high 154 strikeouts in 23 starts.

    "It's one of the best things that's ever happened to me. I just don't want to have to do it again. I want to stay and not go anywhere," said Garza. He starts Friday against Toronto.

  • RHP Mike Smith, who needed 80 pitches to get through a rough three innings Sunday at Kansas City in his only big-league start of the season, was optioned back to Triple-A Rochester to make room for the fourth pitcher of the year to attempt to win the No. 5 spot in the rotation: RHP Matt Garza.

  • LHP Francisco Liriano, who was skipped for one start because of his tender forearm, and then had more trouble with it Monday in Detroit, is to have an "enhanced MRI" when the team returns to the Twin Cities after Wednesday's game. Liriano, who said the pain worsened during Monday's start and was closer to the elbow, is to be placed on the DL.

    Liriano, who's in his first full season in the big leagues, angered manager Ron Gardenhire and pitching coach Rick Anderson for not being more honest about the pain in his elbow before taking the mound Monday in Detroit. "I should have told them, you know, that I can't pitch," said Liriano. "It's not all right to go out and pitch when I'm hurting. It's my fault, because I didn't tell them."

  • OF/DH Rondell White returned to the starting lineup for the first time since July 30, batting as the Twins' DH Tuesday night. He went 1-for-3 with a double.

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