TCD Mailbag: Will Liriano Pitch In 2007?

Liriano can be unstoppable at times.

In our first edition of TCD Mailbag, TCD Senior Editor Brad Weiss answers questions from around the United States. Take a look at his takes on Francisco Liriano, Terry Tiffee, the Beloit lineup, and more:

With the Twins recent struggles at third base, what ever happened to Terry Tiffee?
(Stan, Hartford, CT)

Tiffee, who appeared in parts of the last three seasons with the Twins, is currently playing for the Norfolk Tides, the Baltimore Orioles AAA affiliate. Tiffee was an Eastern League All-Star in 2003, but really played above his potential. He was only drafted in the 26th round by the Twins, and played well during his time with the organization. He was signed by the Orioles as a minor league free agent this past November, and is having a solid season for the Tides. He is batting .313 for the Tides through his first 17 games, and went 4 for 13 against Rochester when they played them back in early April.

What is the status on Francisco Liriano, will he make it back this season?
(Malcolm, Sarasota, FL)

Liriano will not pitch for the Twins at all this season, and is not slated to pick up a baseball until October. I talked to some people at Spring Training and they said that Liriano is already itching to get back on the mound. Some argue he was rushed back last season, so the Twins are going to handle him with kid gloves from here on out. He should be in the rotation to start the 2008 season, and I expect a big season from him. His injury was very serious, so he is going to need time to get back to where he was before the injury.

Why is Trevor Plouffe playing so well this season, isn't the jump to Double-A arguably the hardest jump in Minor League Baseball?
(Harvey, Rochester, NY)

Back in Spring Training, I had an inkling that Plouffe would have a big season in 2007. He looked bigger, more fluid, and looked very comfortable at the plate facing some of the Twins best pitching prospects. It is all a matter of confidence with Plouffe, who is a lead by example type of player. The move to Double-A has ruined some prospects careers, but Trevor appears to have figured out Eastern League pitching early. He is also hitting with power and playing a more solid shortstop, which is exactly what we were all hoping for this season. He is one of the younger players in the Eastern League, so his fast start is very promising.

I have been checking the boxscores lately, what happened to David Winfree?
(Amanda, Fort Myers, FL)

Winfree is still with the team, but is currently on the shelf due to a shoulder injury. Winfree had some personal issues last season, but this has nothing to do with that. He is scheduled for an MRI as a precaution, and could be back in the lineup soon if all goes well. He got off to a good start in the EL, batting .333 through his first eight games, and had four extra-base hits. Winfree has moved into top prospect status, so expect the Twins to find out exactly what is wrong with him before allowing him back on the field.

Some of the top hitters in Beloit are striking out an awful lot. Is that something that concerns you?
(Brent, Augusta, GA)

I am not worried yet, but the numbers have been staggering. Luckily, the team is getting great pitching from guys like Jeffrey Manship, so the Snappers have been able to stay above water. Chris Parmelee, Joe Benson, and Danny Santiesteban need to be more patient at the plate, but they are all getting used to playing in a full-season lineup. They have had some bats carry them this season, including Danny Valencia and Brian Dinkelman, but they need the good numbers from the middle of their lineup.

Brad Weiss is the Senior Editor of TwinCitiesDugout.com and his views are based solely on what he sees, and what he believes to be true. You can reach Weiss at TwinCitiesDugout@aol.com is you would like to have your mailbag questions answered next week. Please submit your questions by Saturday morning so he can answer them over the weekend.

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