MINNEAPOLIS -- Left-hander Francisco Liriano, who was moved to the bullpen to make room for right-hander P.J. Walters in the rotation, made his first relief appearance this season in the Twins' 5-4 loss to the Indians on Monday.
Liriano, making his first appearance since starting against the Angels on May 7, tossed two scoreless innings in relief of right-hander Carl Pavano. Liriano didn't allow a hit, but walked the bases loaded with two out in the eighth before striking out Michael Brantley to end the inning.
"He needed to pitch," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said of Liriano. "He needed innings. We talked about that. So it was a little bit of both protecting Carl and hopefully Frankie giving us some innings to keep us in the ballgame. And he did. It wasn't pretty but he got through it."
Liriano has 22 career appearances as a reliever compared to 119 games as a starter. He has a career 4.21 ERA in the bullpen with most of his time there coming in 2006, when he made 12 relief appearances.
Liriano is still expected to return to the rotation at some point, but there's no timetable for his return as a starter. Walters pitched well in his first start, allowing two runs over six innings against the Blue Jays on Saturday.