In 2010, Francisco Liriano finished 11th in AL Cy Young voting. In 2012, he has been so bad that the Twins have demoted him to the bullpen. P.J. Walters has been recalled from the minors to take Liriano's rotation spot (via Associated Press).
Liriano has made six starts this season, and he's 0-5 with a 9.45 ERA, 2.10 WHIP and 19 walks in 26 2/3 innings. Control and confidence would seem to be the main culprits. He just doesn't seem to trust his stuff early in the count and then gets hit after falling behind. With those numbers, though -- and he already had his turn completely skipped to give him a "mental break -- there isn't really much more the Twins can do than to demote him for the time being.
Liriano looked en route to stardom in 2006, when he was 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA, 1.00 WHIP and 144 strikeouts in just 121 innings. But then he had to undergo Tommy John surgery. He was slightly above average in 2008 upon his return, horrible in 2009 and then seemingly working back to form in 2010. He was 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA and his K-rate (201 K in 191 2/3 innings) was back to impressive. But injuries and inconsistency buried his no-hitter in 2011 and we've already discussed his dreadful 2012.
The good news for the Twins here is that Liriano is still only 28. Also, while he hasn't come close to looking like the pre-Tommy John version in extended stretches, we've seen signs of it -- like the aforementioned 2011 no-no.
Anyway, Liriano is to the 'pen now, and Walters is in the rotation.
Walters, 27, is 3-1 with a 2.70 ERA and 1.17 WHIP in Triple-A Rochester. He has a 7.24 career ERA in 20 major-league appearances.
The Twins made a slew of moves -- including demoting Danny Valencia to the minors -- following a loss Wednesday night, which dropped them to an MLB-worst 8-22.
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