The Twins worst fear was recognized on Friday, as it was diagnosed that Francisco Liriano will have to undergo Tommy John Surgery. Liriano, who captivated baseball fans with a slider that sometimes high above 90 on radar guns, will miss the entire 2007 season. This news did not come as a shock to those within the organization, who saw Liriano struggle to throw lightly in a side session last month. Liriano is scheduled to be ready for Opening Day 2008.
The culprit was a strained ligament in Liriano’s elbow, which now needs to be replaced. Liriano met with Dr. Lewis Yocum on Friday in Southern California, who gave the diagnosis. The young left-hander is scheduled to have the surgery on Monday.
Liriano was placed into the rotation in mid-May, and quickly proceeded to light up the American League. He finished the season with a 12-3 record, coupled with an earned run average of 2.16. In 28 appearances, Liriano struck out 144 batters, while walking only 32.
The loss of Liriano in the rotation could open the door to a possible trade for the Twins, or they may start the season with rookie Glen Perkins in the rotation.
”Hopefully everything will go well, and he’ll be able to get back to the form he showed this year, which is quite high,” said Terry Ryan.
Liriano was originally signed as a non-drafted free agent by the San Francisco Giants on September 9, 2000. He came over to the Twins in the A.J. Pierzynski trade, where he was accompanied by Joe Nathan and Boof Bonser. Liriano was the Twins Minor League Player of the Year last season.