SARASOTA, Fla. (AP) — Last season’s AL comeback player of the year had a rough start to spring training in 2011.
Slowed by tendinitis, the Minnesota Twins’ Francisco Liriano was hit hard during his first start in a regular exhibition game Wednesday, an 11-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles.
Liriano allowed six runs — five earned — and five hits in 1 2-3 innings.
“Nothing was working. My ball wasn’t moving,” Liriano said. “I was rushing. I was trying to do too much.”
Adam Jones had three hits and three RBIs, and Mark Reynolds drove in two runs.
Reynolds’ two-run double keyed a four-run first against Liriano, who allowed a run and three hits during a “B” game against Tampa Bay on Saturday.
A year ago, Liriano was 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA and started the first game of the AL playoffs against New York.
“I think I feel a little bit behind,” Liriano said.” I feel I have to start all over again. I’m trying to find rhythm.”
Manager Ron Gardenhire is trying to be patient.
“He just hasn’t had much time out there,” Gardenhire said. “He just want to get ready for the season, and he tries to push too hard.”
Jones singled in the first, had an RBI double in the second off Liriano and hit a two-run homer in the sixth.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter, who was rushing to leave so that he could manage the Orioles’ split-squad game Wednesday night against Boston in Fort Myers, was happy to see his team break a five-game winless streak that included two ties.
“We put some good at-bats together. We swung the bats well,” Showalter said. “We’ve been pitching pretty good for a while now. Now, we’ll give up 15 tomorrow night, I guarantee it.”
Vladimir Guerrero hit a long home run in the fifth — his second of spring training.
Showalter says he always asks Guerrero how many at-bats he wanted, and after his long home run, the slugger told him:
“I had enough.” Vladdy then left the game.
Gardenhire said the Twins were tired from playing a regular game and a “B” game with Justin Morneau on Tuesday.
“It was an ugly start, and they just kept banging away, and we didn’t get to hit enough, and they got to play a lot of defense,” Gardenhire said. “That normally doesn’t work out too well, so it was a kind of all-around ugly day.”
Jake Arrieta, 6-6 in his rookie season with the Orioles, allowed one run and three hits in three innings, giving up Luke Hughes’ third home run.
“I’m getting more comfortable in game situations, guys in the box, the atmosphere of just being in more of a big league setting, just getting more comfortable around in the zone with all my pitches,” Arrieta said.