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Updated: July 18th, 2012 5:35pm
Francisco Liriano's trade suitors have included Blue Jays, Angels

Francisco Liriano's trade suitors have included Blue Jays, Angels

by Phil Mackey
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MINNEAPOLIS -- Francisco Liriano will surely pitch in front of several scouts on Wednesday night when he faces the Baltimore Orioles at Target Field.

Since rejoining the starting rotation on May 30, Liriano owns a 2.83 ERA with 67 strikeouts, 25 walks and only two home runs allowed in 57 1/3 innings over nine outings. In less than two months Liriano's value -- both for trade and for his impending free agency -- has increased exponentially.

Here are the latest nuggets regarding Liriano's potential trade status, and some other pre-deadline notes:

• Including Wednesday night against the Orioles, Liriano is scheduled to start three more times before the July 31 trade deadline. Preparing for a possible trade, the Twins are said to have a Plan B starting pitching option in place on days Liriano starts. Anthony Swarzak and Brian Duensing are both stretched out enough to make an emergency start.

• The Los Angeles Angels and Toronto Blue Jays have shown legitimate interest in Liriano in recent weeks, per sources, although it's possible the Blue Jays' stance as buyers could change now that slugger Jose Bautista is out with a wrist injury. Toronto's starting staff owns the seventh-worst ERA in baseball (4.54), which is why they have been scouting Liriano's last few starts.

The Angels are believed to be dangling outfielder Peter Bourjos in any potential deal for pitching. The Angels have a surplus of outfielders, and Bourjos, 25, has batted only 155 times this season, posting a line of .243/.298/.360.

• The Boston Red Sox had internal discussions about Liriano as far back as spring training, but their level of interest now is currently unknown. Despite being 11 games back of the New York Yankees in the A.L East, the Red Sox are said to be in full buy-mode. A league source said Wednesday morning that Boston was in discussions with the Miami Marlins about Hanley Ramirez.

• The Yankees, Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals have also been watching Liriano closely.

• The Twins have no interest in taking on any part of the prorated $5.6 million salary of recently DFA'd right-hander Jonathan Sanchez, but if he clears waivers one person with the club said Sanchez is a "possibility." Sanchez has been perhaps the worst pitcher in baseball, posting a 7.76 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 44 walks in 53 1/3 innings. His best season came in 2010 with the San Francisco Giants when he posted a 3.07 ERA with 205 strikeouts and a league-leading 96 walks in 193 1/3 innings.

The Twins are in a position to take a flyer on just about any starting pitcher.

• The Cincinnati Reds, in need of an on-base percentage injection, have been scouting Denard Span, who is now reaching at a .351 clip. Span, for the second consecutive year, is fully aware of the possibility that he may be dealt, but he continues to push forward with his best season since 2009.

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.
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