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Twins: Strikeout king Francisco Liriano soon to be starting

Ron Gardenhire said in the St. Paul Pioneer Press that Francisco Liriano could be entering the Twins' rotation soon. Liriano has a 4.24 ERA and 1.53 WHIP, but those numbers belie his true dominance, which is reflected in 25 strikeouts and just four walks over 17 innings.

Which starter might Liriano replace? Take your pick: the rotation sports a major-league worst 6.64 ERA, with Carlos Silva (8.59 ERA) and Kyle Lohse (9.71) being the worst offenders. The only question now is Liriano's arm strength after spending the entire year so far in the bullpen:

Gardenhire said Liriano has reached a point where he could throw 60 to 65 pitches in an outing, a number that would equate to about five innings if the left-hander is efficient.

Asked how many pitches he is ready to throw in an appearance, Liriano replied without hesitation: "Eighty." That might be overly ambitious, but the Twins' coaches undoubtedly have given much thought to making the move with the rotation struggling.

Liriano is most likely not available in most AL-only leagues, but now that he's on the cusp of starting, he's worth considering in all formats. I've been a fan of this guy for a long time, and it's hard to look at his career numbers and not think that he has a chance to become the next Johan Santana.

Lohse's next start crucial [Star-Tribune]