MINNEAPOLIS -- Francisco Liriano has been dealing with a little bit of dead arm in recent weeks and so when the Twins were provided an opportunity to give him a few extra days of rest between starts, they took it. After Kevin Slowey was placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right triceps muscle, the Twins have shuffled their rotation slightly. Right-hander Nick Blackburn was called up from Triple-A Rochester to replace the injured Slowey in the rotation. But with Blackburn already on schedule to start Monday, the Twins decided to keep Blackburn in line for his start, when Liriano was originally slotted to face the Rangers, and they pushed back the left-hander to start Thursday's contest against Texas.
Gardenhire said the Twins had originally planned for Liriano not to throw a bullpen session in between his starts, but now he'll throw a light side session with pitching coach Rick Anderson on Monday in Texas. "This is actually good," Gardenhire said. "We talked to Liriano, and he likes the idea too." Carl Pavano and Brian Duensing will remain on their regular rest, pitching the middle two contests of the four-game series against the Rangers on Tuesday and Wednesday. Gardenhire said the team discussed the possibility of pushing every starter back just a day, but the other starters felt they didn't really need the rest while Liriano could use the extra days. "I think he threw 50 or 60 innings between [winter ball and Spring Training]," Gardenhire said. "That's a lot of extra innings. This is the time of the year [for] a little bit of dead arm, the whole package. So we'll give him that extra three days here and it really is a nice fit." Blackburn is scheduled to meet the team in Texas.