MINNEAPOLIS -- In an effort to help him clear his head after struggling in four outings so far this season, the Twins will skip left-hander Francisco Liriano's turn in the rotation this week.
Minnesota has an off-day on Thursday, which allows the Twins to go with a four-man rotation before Liriano makes his next start May 1 in Anaheim vs. the Angels. Liriano, who allowed five runs in five innings on Sunday against the Rays, has an 11.02 ERA with 12 strikeouts and 13 walks in 16 1/3 innings.
Manager Ron Gardenhire told Liriano of the club's decision during a meeting on Monday that also included pitching coach Rick Anderson, who will watch Liriano throw bullpen sessions on Thursday and Saturday.
"It's about being able to relax on the mound, and he knows that," Gardenhire said. "He actually says he has confidence, but he'll tell you straight out that when he gets men out there, he starts spinning 'em. So he's got to be able to control that. It's a work in progress. We're letting him take a step back and relax a little bit."
Gardenhire added that Liriano, who is on board with the decision to skip his start, also has to fix a few mechanical flaws.
"Andy and him are going to have long conversations," Gardenhire said. "They already are. As you can see, they're working on things, talking about things. He's wide open. He's had his struggles right now and he's wide open. He's searching for answers."