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Liriano shines in spite of distraction

Liriano shines in spite of distraction

MINNEAPOLIS -- Twins manager Ron Gardenhire expressed his ire at the agent of pitcher Francisco Liriano on Thursday for pushing the Players' Association to investigate why the left-hander has not been called up to the Majors. But Gardenhire made it clear Friday that the recent turn of events has not impacted Liriano's status within the organization.

"His agent does what he does, and Liriano has been nothing but super in Triple-A and done everything we've asked of him," Gardenhire said. "His agent has nothing to do with what we feel for Mr. Liriano.

"We just would like Liriano to continue pitching and doing well and doing what he's supposed to do for this organization. He's doing everything right, and we can't control the other part of it."

Gardenhire was clearly upset when talking to the media on Thursday after news broke that Greg Genske, Liriano's agent, had confirmed that he had contacted the Players' Association to open an investigation into the Twins' treatment of the pitcher. The purpose of the investigation is to see whether Minnesota has kept Liriano at Triple-A Rochester to prevent him from qualifying for salary arbitration.

Liriano has continued to put good numbers at Rochester recently, as he's gone 4-0 with a 0.32 ERA in his past four starts. That included his start on Thursday night against Norfolk, when he tossed eight innings, allowing one earned run on seven hits. He did not walk a batter and struck out eight.

And the reports from Liriano's latest start were very good, Gardenhire said.

"He threw the ball great," Gardenhire said. "It was a nice night for him on the mound. He controlled the strike zone, his slider was sharp and his velocity was good. He did his job, and he threw the ball great."

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

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