Tag:Brian Duensing
Posted on: February 10, 2011 9:48 am

Twins considering trading Liriano

Francisco Liriano Because, I guess, Carlos Gomez, Philip Humber, Kevin Mulvey and Deolis Guerra have worked out so well for the Twins, the team is apparently open to dealing ace Francisco Liriano, Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star Tribune writes .

Liriano, 27, is a free agent after the 2012 season and the team doesn't appear interested in signing him to a long-term deal, Christensen writes. The two sides avoid arbitration last week, but Liriano's side was looking for a three-year, $39 million contract.

Last season, Liriano was 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA in 31 starts. He struck out 201 in 191 2/3 innings. He was also second in the majors in xFIP at 3.06, behind Roy Halladay. Liriano has a history of arm injuries, including Tommy John surgery in 2006.

In 2008, the Twins had a left-handed ace they couldn't sign in the last year of his contract in Johan Santana, receiving just the aforementioned Gomez, Humber, Mulvey and Guerra in return for the left-hander from the Mets. The thought with Liriano is that they can receive more with more time left under team control.

The Twins have five other starters -- Carl Pavano, Brian Duensing, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn and Kevin Slowey -- and their top prospect, Kyle Gibson, is a starter, so they see Liriano as replaceable and attractive to a team like the Yankees, who are looking to fill their rotation.

However, the Twins need Liriano to help compete in the AL Central and dealing him now doesn't help the team in pursuit of its first postseason series victory since 2002. None of their other five big-leaguers have the stuff Liriano does or the ability to dominate like he can.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: January 24, 2011 10:57 am
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:57 am

Twins must sort out starters

Brian Duensing
With the return of Carl Pavano, the Twins are faced with a problem any team would like to have: too many proven starting pitchers.

Minnesota heads into spring training with six pitchers who each won at least 10 games last season: Pavano, Francisco Liriano, Scott Baker, Nick Blackburn, Kevin Slowey and Brian Duensing. All but one had both a winning record and an ERA under 4.50 (Blackburn, at 10-12, 5.42).

So who goes to the bullpen? That's not a decision the Twins have to make just yet, and might not have to make at all, because there are some unknowns. Blackburn and Baker both had arthroscopic elbow surgery after the season, and though both are projected to be fully ready to start spring training, there's always the possibility of a setback. Slowey also dealt with some injuries last season.

But if all six are good to go on opening day, who's the odd man out of the rotation? Duensing (pictured) has the most relief experience, making 40 appearances out of the bullpen last season, but the Twins liked what they saw from him down the stretch as a starter, when he went 7-2 with a 2.32 ERA. He also gives them a second left-hander to go with Liriano. Blackburn was the statistical weak link last season, but advanced stats (for example, a 4.62 xFIP) show he might have been better than his record, and should be due for a bounceback. Slowey's 39-21 record as a starter is going to buy him the benefit of the doubt.

Pitching coach Rick Anderson told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune he's not complaining about his "problem."

“Hopefully they all stay healthy, and it’s a tough decision,” Anderson said.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: October 5, 2010 1:49 pm
Edited on: October 5, 2010 1:50 pm

Twins announce rotation

So, to go along with the Yankees rotation, we now have the Twins rotation for their ALDS matchups:

Game 1: CC Sabathia vs. Francisco Liriano
Game 2: Andy Pettitte vs. Carl Pavano
Game 3: Phil Hughes vs. Brian Duensing
Game 4: Sabathia vs. Nick Blackburn
Game 5: Pettitte vs. Liriano

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 22, 2010 2:00 pm
Edited on: September 22, 2010 2:38 pm

Twins set postseason rotation

Francisco Liriano The Twins have not only set their place in the playoffs, manager Ron Gardenhire has set his postseason rotation.

For now, he told reporters, it will be Francisco Liriano, Carl Pavano, Brian Duensing and Nick Blackburn in the playoffs, but could change if someone pitches poorly down the stretch, according to the Star Tribune 's La Velle E. Neal III .

Pavano will also get a little more rest. He'll start again on Saturday -- eight days after his last start, Thursday in Chicago.

Pavano is leading the team in wins with a 17-11 record and a 3.60 ERA, while the lefty Liriano has a better winning percentage (.636, 14-8) and lower ERA (3.44).

Kevin Slowey is the odd man out, despite going 5-1 with a 2.72 ERA and .216 batting average against in his last nine starts. Blackburn, who is today's starter for the Twins, has pitched in six games since a monthlong demotion to Triple-A and has gone 2-3 with a  2.09 ERA and a .216 batting average against.

 -- C. Trent Rosecrans

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Posted on: September 3, 2010 12:12 am
Edited on: September 3, 2010 1:57 am

Some explaining to do in Minnesota

Scott Baker
You could almost hear the entire state of Minnesota screaming at the TV set Thursday night: "How in the %#@* do you run out of pitchers in September ?!?"

There were some extenuating circumstances, but it's still pretty much inexcusable that the Twins got caught short-handed in the bullpen two days after they had the ability to import as much pitching depth as they wanted thanks to roster expansion.

Starter Scott Baker left the game against Detroit after two innings with elbow pain, and the game went extra innings. So atop the mound in the 11th inning appeared Brian Duensing -- who started and threw 103 pitches on Tuesday in the opener of this very series, and promptly gave up the go-ahead run Thursday. The Twins came back and tied it, and Nick Blackburn, the scheduled Friday starter, pitched the 13th -- and promptly gave up what would be the winning run.

The Twins used five relievers between Baker and Duensing, two of them for less than an inning. Matt Capps and newest Twin Brian Fuentes were unavailable with medical issues. So why in the world would a team in a pennant race not have half its Triple-A pitching staff dispatched to Minneapolis? I count seven pitchers on the 40-man roster who aren't on the 25-man, and all were available to be called up.

Obviously it's not every day you get two innings from your starter and play into the 13th, but with so much at stake and so many people being paid to cover all the bases, the Twins should have had extra arms available. There are going to be some tough questions for Bill Smith and Ron Gardenhire after this one.

-- David Andriesen

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Posted on: August 15, 2010 3:43 pm
Edited on: August 15, 2010 5:08 pm

Slowey pulled with no-hitter through 7

Kevin Slowey Twins starter Kevin Slowey has held the Twins hitless through six innings.

The Twins lead 1-0 on a Jason Kubel RBI double in the third.

Slowey has walked two and struck out five. The A's have also gained a baserunner on an error by Twins shortstop Alexi Casilla.

The A's didn't manage a hit in the last six innings of yesterday's 2-0 loss to the Twins' Brian Duensing.

UPDATE: Slowey got a double-play with two runners on to end the seventh with no hits allowed.

It'll be interesting to see if he comes out for the eighth. He's thrown 106 pitches and missed his last start with soreness in his right elbow. The Twins had Jon Rauch warming up after Slowey walked the first hitter of the seventh inning, Jack Cust. Manager Ron Gardenhire then came to the mound after Slowey hit Mark Ellis with one out.

UPDATE: Twins players were not only talking to Slowey in the bottom of the seventh, they were also hugging him. That means he's likely done and if there's a no-hitter, it'll be a combined no-hitter.

The last combined no-hitter was June 11, 2003, when the Astros' Roy Oswalt left the game with an injury after one pitch in the second inning. Oswalt was followed by Peter Munro (2 innings), Kirk Saarloos (1 1/3 innings), Brad Lidge (2 innings), Octavio Dotel (1 inning) and Billy Wagner (1 innings). That marked the most pitchers used in a combined no-hitter.

UPDATE: The Twins have a little breathing room, as Jim Thome launched the 580th home run of his career to give Minnesota a 4-0 lead going into the eighth inning.

UPDATE: Rauch is in for Slowey and the fans boo.

Rauch strikes out Chris Carter on three pitches for the first out.

UPDATE: Cliff Pennington doubles to break up the no-hitter with one out in the eighth. Coco Crisp followed that with a double to make it 4-1. So the one-hitter's gone.

UPDATE: Slowey said he was disappointed he was pulled from the game, but appreciated the way his manager and pitching coach handled the situation.

"With Rod Gardenhire and Rick Peterson, they care more about the individual than accomplishments," Slowey said.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
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