Liriano making progress in Triple-A

Liriano making progress

KANSAS CITY -- Francisco Liriano gave up six runs on seven hits over 6 2/3 innings on Monday in his latest start for Triple-A Rochester, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said that the left-hander continued to make progress.

Despite the ugly line for Liriano against Triple-A Charlotte, Gardenhire said that the reports on the lefty were positive overall.

"One bad pitch," said the skipper of what he was told about Liriano's outing. "He threw the ball OK. He just gave up a grand slam. They were pleased with everything other than that. He just made a bad pitch with the bases loaded. But they said he's moving right along."

Liriano walked only one in the outing and struck out four. His recent string of better starts at Rochester has led to questions about whether the Twins might consider trying to ease him back to the Majors. In 2006, Liriano's rookie season, he began the year in the bullpen before being shifted to the rotation in May.

But as for the possibility of bringing Liriano back up to Minnesota in a relief role, Gardenhire said there has been no discussion of it -- nor will there be.

"He's going to start," Gardenhire said. "He's been through enough. Coming off [a surgery] like that, that's not something you want. ... Down the road, if it looks like he can't be a starter, then you start [considering that]. But there has been no talk about that."

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