Liriano joins rotation, Silva to 'pen

Liriano joins rotation, Silva to 'pen

MINNEAPOLIS -- In an effort to get his confidence up and his sinker down, a decision was made to move Carlos Silva to the Twins bullpen.

Rookie southpaw Francisco Liriano will start in Silva's place on Friday in Milwaukee.

Twins manager Ron Gardenhire announced the move on Monday morning following another rough start from Silva on Sunday night, when he allowed eight runs in 3 1/3 innings. Gardenhire and Twins pitching coach Rick Anderson had discussed the possibility of the move after the game and informed Silva of their decision Monday morning.

"We have to try to figure a way to get his confidence back," Gardenhire said of Silva. "The only way we know to do that is to put him in the bullpen and let him pitch more than one time during the week and try to find his pitches."

It's been a struggle to find any sort of breaking ball for Silva, as he has gone 2-6 with an 8.83 ERA. Only one of his eight starts so far this season has been a quality outing.

Silva appeared to take the news of his move pretty hard. When asked about it after the game, he politely declined requests to talk. It's been difficult for Silva during his struggles as he seemed utterly confused and upset at his inability to help the team.

"He's really frustrated right now," Gardenhire said. "He doesn't really know where to go. We're just going to try to get him back to being Carlos and enjoying everything. He's a pretty happy guy. We just have to get him back on track."

Gardenhire made it a point to stress that the move is not permanent, but a temporary solution to give Silva more chances to work on his throwing in game situations rather than letting the pressure build up to every five days. The extra time in the bullpen will also allow Silva to work more with Anderson on some drills to see if they can fix the problem.

Exactly how long it will take Silva to regain form is uncertain, but Gardenhire doesn't expect it to be a long process. He made it clear that he considers Silva one of the team's starters and that he will rejoin the rotation once he figures out how to regain his lost confidence.

"He's got to be one of our starters for us to be successful," Gardenhire said. "But the first thing you have to work on with a pitcher is to get his confidence back up. Right now his confidence is shot. He's a bit lost. We're going to try to get him some good outings out of the bullpen and try to get his confidence back up and get him back in the rotation that way. Because he will get back in the rotation as soon as he finds his confidence and gets his sinker going, and that shouldn't take very long, we're hoping."

In the meantime, the move clears an opening for Liriano to show what he can do as a starter. The 22-year-old left-hander has been very impressive out of the bullpen this year with a 1-0 record and 3.22 ERA in 12 appearances. During his 22 1/3 innings of work, Liriano has struck out 32 and walked just four while recording one save.

The chance at a starting spot in the rotation has been the goal for Liriano since Spring Training, and hearing the news on Monday was something that couldn't have made the young pitcher any happier.

"It's pretty exciting, because that's what I want to be, a starter," Liriano said. "And now I'm going to get my opportunity to do that."

The Twins have tried to stretch out Liriano to be ready for a start if necessary. That included throwing three innings of relief in the Twins' game against Texas on May 9. Due to his short stints in the 'pen, Liriano will be held to a limited pitch count around 60-70 pitches. But the shortness of Liriano's outing wasn't Gardenhire's primary concern on Monday -- it was Silva.

"This is a hard day," Gardenhire said. "I have so much respect for Carlos and I believe in him. It's always fun to give Liriano a chance to start, which I know is what he wants. But more important for me is to get Silva back on track."

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.