AKhomebrewer wrote:The following is not based on any inside information; just a feeling combined with years of observation of Minnesota's historical M.O. (Santana, Liriano) ...
It's entirely possible Liriano will return the way he started out — in long relief.
Consider he still has a lot to prove, with respect to pitching confidently again coming off the surgery, reclaiming command, the slider, etc.
Let's say he does eventually start consistently mowing down minor-leaguers. Even then, the Twins will need an opening in the rotation. Sure, they don't have a bunch of Santanas taking the ball every day, but if the current five are healthy and at least somewhat effective in front of that relatively lightweight offense, it might benefit the club to let Liriano "prove" himself at the MLB level in relief again.
This still sets him up for necessary spot starts, and to be the guy again as soon as somebody goes down - or if he simply goes ape-sh**. This method would certainly take the pressure off his comeback, while possibly providing him with a little extra motivation.
To your original question though ... mid-June at the earliest. If he remains inconsistent, not until September call-ups. Most likely somewhere in-between, perhaps right after the break.
From http://sports.yahoo.com/fantasy/blog/ro ... tasy,85424
Whispers have circulated in Minnesota about possibly moving the maligned starter back into a relief role. But Gardenhire squashed those rumors telling MLB.com May 27:
"He's going to start. He's been through enough. Coming off a surgery like that, that's not something you want...Down the road, if it looks like he can't be a starter, then you start considering that. But there has been no talk about that."