Liriano frustrated, but understands move to 'pen

Liriano frustrated, but understands move to 'pen

MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-hander Francisco Liriano said he's been frustrated by his slow start this season and understands why the Twins decided to move him to the bullpen to try to get him back on track.

In six starts, Liriano posted a 9.45 ERA with 21 strikeouts, 19 walks and six homers allowed over 26 2/3 innings. Right-hander P.J. Walters will take his place in the rotation and start Saturday against the Blue Jays.

"I've been there before, so I have to go out there and try to do my job," Liriano said. "I'm happy to be here and try to do anything to help the team win some ballgames. Either from the bullpen, starting, whatever I have to do."

Gardenhire said the club debated whether to option him to Triple-A Rochester, but decided it wouldn't do him any good to face inferior hitters in the Minor Leagues.

"We need him to face Major League hitting and bear down and get some Major League hitters out," Gardenhire said. "I'm not talking about a period of time here we'd like to see him maybe get out there. Who knows? I'm not going to put it in days, but he needs to face Major League hitters. He needs to get through that."

Liriano added he's healthy, but is disappointed with the way the season has gone, as he dominated in Spring Training with a 2.33 ERA with 33 strikeouts and five walks in 27 innings.

"It's been tough, to be honest," Liriano said. "Having the spring that I had and coming into the season then walking so many guys and getting behind in the count, it's kinda tough for me. It has been up and down but I gotta find a way to get back to pitching better."