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Time for Liriano’s call-up

July 28, 2008

by Stephen Wiblemo

I am writing this column Wednesday morning, still grieving over the Twins second loss to the Bronx Bombers.

I hate the Yankees.

But, what I hate more is the fact that Francisco Liriano is tearing things up in Rochester, but we haven’t heard a peep from Ron Gardenhire or Bill Smith about bringing him up.

Oh, we’ve heard the complaints from Liriano’s agent, but little from Smith or Gardy.

Normally I don’t like to side with whiners, but Liriano, and his agent, are right here.

At the beginning of the year, everyone was excited to see the young hurler back from surgery after spending the 2007 season on the shelf.

But, when we saw him in April, it wasn’t the same 12-3 Liriano we came to know and love back in 2006.

He struggled in his return, going 0-3 in three starts and posting a 11.32 ERA.

The fact is, he just wasn’t ready to come back.

So, Gardy sent him down for reassignment.

Three months later, the Twins are on the heels of the White Sox for first place and defying all pre-season predictions that had them at the bottom of the AL Central Division, and Detroit or Cleveland running away with the pennant.

At the same time, Liriano has been rediscovering himself in Rochester where he sports a 9-2 record and has given up just one run in his last 35 innings.

The time is now to bring the lefty back into our rotation.

It is that time of the season when teams in contention start making a push for the playoffs, and many look to add missing pieces.

The Twins don’t have to trade anybody to improve their team, they simply need to make room for Liriano in the bullpen.

This would be an easy task.

Send Boof Bonser or Brian Bass down to the minors where they belong.

Then put one of your young, but struggling, starters in a long relief role in the pen.

Maybe Nick Blackburn or Kevin Slowey.

That makes room for Liriano, keeps an arm in the bullpen, and lets one of those rookie arms, who could be a starter in a year or two, get more time in the majors.

I know, I’m a genius. But, I don’t think I have much pull with the Twins organization.

I don’t think Gardenhire and Smith are oblivious to the things I’m talking about.

As I mentioned, this column was written Wednesday, a day after Liriano pitched his most recent gem in Rochester.

If you stick to a five-man rotation schedule, Liriano’s next start would be today (Monday).

It just so happens that the Twins start a four-game series at home against the White Sox today (Monday).

I would hope that Gardenhire seizes this opportunity to give Liriano a second debut in the majors, and possibly give the Twins a much needed spark during an important division series.

Favre, Favre go away

I’ve steered clear of the Brett Favre controversy these last couple weeks, but I can stay silent no more.

At first I thought the whole thing was a big joke. But, I was enjoying it because I like watching Green Bay squirm.

Before I go further, I should mention that my grandfather is a die-hard “cheese head.” So, any remarks I make toward the Packers should not be taken personally by Packer fans.

Anyway, I was enjoying the circus, until these tampering charges were made a few weeks ago.

Now I’m mad.

I don’t like the idea of Minnesota getting dragged down into this mess. Not to mention, if they are guilty of such charges, they could be penalized and even have draft picks taken away.

Not cool.

You know what else is not cool. Brett Favre in purple.

I don’t know why anybody who considers themselves a true Vikings fan would even think this a good option.

Have you forgotten how many beautiful Sundays he has ruined!

The only reason I would want Favre to be a Viking is to listen to Packer fans as they cry in their beer cheese soup.

Even if we really wanted him to be a Viking, the chances of that happening are about as likely as Bill Belichick retiring his hoody.

The Packers aren’t going to release him for fear that he will go to a rival team like the Vikings, and they certainly won’t trade him to us.

But, I do think they will have to deal him eventually, just to make him be quiet and go away.

On an interesting side note, the Packers and Vikings meet in their first game of the regular season on a Monday night in Green Bay.

The Packers were reportedly going to use that national stage to retire Favre’s number. I wonder what they will do if he’s wearing a different jersey at that time?

Thanks Jeff

The Post 209 Legion baseball team finished up its season last week.

I want to thank its head coach, Jeff Neutzling, for being such a big help to me, as the new sports editor at the Enterprise Dispatch.

Neutzling did a fantastic job of reporting his games to me and coming in with his score book every morning after a game.

Many mornings, he came in so early he beat me to the office.

I was disappointed, as the team was, after its final loss to Annandale. But, probably the most disappointing part will be not getting to talk baseball in the morning with Neutzling.

Thanks for your help, I’ll see you around DC sporting events.