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Updated: April 28th, 2012 1:29pm
Notebook: Twins rained out; Liriano still on track for Tuesday start

Notebook: Twins rained out; Liriano still on track for Tuesday start

by Phil Mackey
1500ESPN.com
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MINNEAPOLIS -- The Minnesota Twins will spend at least one more day in sole possession of last place in the American League Central.

Saturday's game between the Twins (5-15) and Kansas City Royals (6-14) was postponed due to rain. The game will be made up on June 30 at noon as part of a split doubleheader.

In Sunday's series finale, right-hander Jason Marquis (1-0, 7.15) will take on left-hander Bruce Chen (0-2, 2.52).

Gardenhire clarifies bullpen situation

The Royals took a 6-5 lead in the top of the eighth inning Friday night on an RBI single by Mike Moustakas off left-hander Brian Duensing.

With one out and Moustakas on first, manager Ron Gardenhire turned to right-hander Jeff Gray, who walked Yuniesky Betancourt, then allowed an RBI single to Alcides Escobar that put the Royals up by two runs.

The Twins mounted a rally but were unable to come up with one last big hit.

When asked why he chose to go with Gray (eight walks in 9 1/3 innings), Gardenhire said Glen Perkins was unavailable, and pitching coach Rick Anderson preferred to keep Jared Burton out one more game.

"We like Gray," Gardenhire said. "We like his arm. ...

"(Perkins) had fell down the stairs at home and hurt his leg. He was pretty sore, so I wasn't going to use him at all last night, and (Anderson) really wanted to keep Burton out of there last night. We've thrown him every other day since the start, so we went with what we had.

"But we like Gray's arm. He's put in some pretty good performances. He's got a nice fastball with good velocity with a nice slider. He just didn't get the pitch where he wanted to. We like him a lot. I think he can help us."

Liriano still on track for Tuesday

Francisco Liriano threw his second bullpen session of the week on Saturday morning in an effort to get back on track to rejoin the starting rotation on Tuesday in Los Angeles.

"Things are working way better," Liriano said. "I'm throwing the ball down now. I'm throwing strikes. It's only a bullpen but I feel I'm getting better."

Tuesday could be a pivotal outing for Liriano, who will likely have more eyes on him than just Twins staff members.

"I'm trying not to think about it," Liriano said. "I think that will help me. I'll try not to think about it and just try to do my job and do the best I can. I'll go out there and give everything I have. If it doesn't go the way I wanted it to, at least I tried. I'm not going to go out there thinking I have to pitch well, I'm just going to go out there and do my best."

Numbers game

9: Games affected by weather -- by delay or postponement -- in Target Field's history.

70: Pitches thrown by Liriano in the bullpen session.

Health report

• RHP Kyle Waldrop left for Fort Myers to continue rehabbing his strained right elbow. There is no timetable on his return.

• Perkins (leg) is day-to-day.

On deck

Sunday: vs. Royals, 1:10 p.m. RHP Jason Marquis (1-0, 7.15) vs. LHP Bruce Chen (0-2, 2.52).
Monday: @ Angels, 9:05 p.m. RHP Nick Blackburn (0-2, 7.53) vs. LHP C.J. Wilson (2-2, 2.42).
Tuesday: @ Angels, 9:05 p.m. LHP Francisco Liriano (0-3, 11.02) vs. Jerome Williams (1-1, 5.51).

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