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GAME OF THE DAY

Liriano Out for Year After Aborted Return

September 14, 2006|From the Associated Press

MINNEAPOLIS — The Minnesota Twins will have to make their playoff push without Francisco Liriano.

A strong rookie-of-the-year candidate, Liriano walked off the mound because of elbow trouble Wednesday in his highly anticipated return to the Minnesota rotation. After a 1-0 loss to Oakland, Manager Ron Gardenhire said Liriano was done for the year.

"Obviously he won't be pitching again," Gardenhire said. "Something is in there bothering and continuing to stop him.

"Obviously when he gets in a game and puts a little extra torque in there, something is not right. We have to make sure we stop it and do what we have to do."

The Twins' lead in the wild-card race was cut to 1 1/2 games by Chicago, which beat the Angels, 9-0.

Liriano slumped off the mound in the third inning. Trainers and Gardenhire rushed out to attend to the left-hander and a hush fell over the crowd that had been so excited about his return after leaving a start on Aug. 8 against Detroit because of a strained ligament in his arm.

"The last two pitches I threw, I felt a pop and it really hurts," Liriano said.

The Twins later said he had pain in his left elbow.

He had an MRI exam after the game, and thoughts immediately turned to Tommy John surgery, a ligament-replacement procedure that typically keeps pitchers out for more than a year.

Liriano said he was waiting to hear from team doctors about the next move.

Liriano was 12-3 with a 2.19 earned-run average.

Meanwhile, Matt Garza (1-5) pitched well in emergency relief, but he was outdueled by Dan Haren (14-11), who pitched eight shutout innings. Jay Payton drove in Milton Bradley on a ground-rule double for the only run.

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