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Updated: March 4th, 2011 10:08am
Francisco Liriano throws 36 pitches in first spring outing

Francisco Liriano throws 36 pitches in first spring outing

by Phil Mackey
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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- His performance won't be mistaken for a Picasso, but Minnesota Twins stud left-hander Francisco Liriano took the mound for the first time this spring.

Pitching in an early-morning 'B' game, Liriano threw 36 pitches over two innings -- mostly fastballs and changeups -- but he struggled mightily with command.

Over those two innings, Liriano allowed three hits, two walks and a hit batter while striking out one. Liriano also induced a 6-4-3 double play and a flyout. At the end of the second inning, the Rays ran themselves into two outs on bases to help bail Liriano out of a jam.

Catcher Drew Butera had to trot out to the mound in the first inning to help settle Liriano's erratic control, and pitching coach Rick Anderson made a visit in the second inning.

While the result certainly wasn't favorable -- if that even matters in a spring-training 'B' game -- the fact that Liriano was able to take the mound after a bout with shoulder tendinitis in late February is a good sign. The lefty appears to be back on schedule.

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
In this story: Drew Butera, Francisco Liriano