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Updated: May 10th, 2011 8:45pm
Francisco Liriano exits with illness; 'he couldn't catch his breath'

Francisco Liriano exits with illness; 'he couldn't catch his breath'

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- This wasn't exactly the encore performance Minnesota Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano likely envisioned after throwing a no-hitter in Chicago last week.

Liriano left Tuesday night's start against the Detroit Tigers after only three innings with an illness. He allowed four earned runs, three hits and three walks while striking out only one.

"He got sick and was having troubles catching his breath out there after he went to first base," manager Ron Gardenhire said. "He stopped, took a couple deep breaths, threw a couple pitches, tried to finish the inning, but once he got in the dugout he was having a hard time breathing again. So get him out of there."

Liriano's start was originally pushed back from Monday to Tuesday because the left-hander came down with a sore throat and bug of some sort in Boston.

In the top of the third inning Tuesday, Liriano nearly threw a ball over catcher Drew Butera's head while attempting to intentionally walk Miguel Cabrera. The training staff came out to check on Liriano, who grimaced with discomfort. Liriano remained in the game and allowed a two-RBI single to Victor Martinez before inducing a groundout by Jhonny Peralta to end the inning.

Brian Duensing came on in relief.

"He had the flu after he pitched when we got to Boston," Gardenhire said about Liriano. "He went home, went back to the hotel, had the flu bug, but that was five days ago. I guess it's still the same thing. I think he was dehydrated from it, and was doing his workouts in Boston and everything, but once he got out there, I think it was pretty hot out there on the mound, and he just overheated.

"I'm not a doctor. I can't tell you what Frankie felt out there, other than he couldn't catch his breath, and they told me it was the flu."

Liriano left the ballpark, understandably, prior to media access.

Phil Mackey is a columnist for He co-hosts "Mackey & Judd" from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. weekdays on 1500 ESPN Twin Cities.
Email Phil | @PhilMackey | Mackey & Judd