The Associated Press reports Minnesota Twins starting pitcher Francisco Liriano has been optioned to Triple-A Rochester.
Liriano's demotion to the minor leagues was a result of his struggles on the mound this season. Liriano was called back up to the majors after the team said he recovered well enough from Tommy John surgery he underwent in November 2006. He has lost all three starts this year, recording an 11.32 ERA and 2.71 WHIP. He has pitched only 10 1/3 innings in those three starts; most recently, Liriano only lasted two-thirds of an inning Thursday, April 24, in a start against the Oakland Athletics. He allowed six earned runs in that outing.
The team is hoping that while he's in the minors, Liriano can regain the All-Star form he has shown in the past. In 2006, Liriano went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA before being placed on the disabled list in August for the rest of the year. He also missed all of the 2007 season.
This demotion is obviously not good news for Liriano owners. While in the minor leagues, fantasy owners can not stash Liriano on the disabled list, as he is not injured. Liriano will likely remain in the minors until his stats dramatically improve, so there is no structured timetable for his return. In deeper leagues, Liriano might be worth hanging onto, as he has the potential to dominate at the major league level. However, in leagues with only a few bench spots, fantasy owners may be forced to cut ties with the promising starter.
To take Liriano's place on the big league roster, the Twins have recalled reliever Bobby Korecky. Korecky is a bit old for a prospect at 28, but he is a promising pitcher who saved 35 games for Triple-A Rochester last season. In 85 innings pitched in 2007, Korecky recorded 71 strikeouts, an ERA of 3.71 and a WHIP of 1.34. Korecky has dominated so far this season, saving five games while recording an ERA of 0.68 and a WHIP of 1.05 in 13 1/3 innings. He does not have any immediate fantasy value except in leagues that reward holds.
About Andrew Stewart
Andrew Stewart has been a Hot off the Wire Analyst for KFFL since 2007.
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