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Commanche Jim

Liriano leaves rehab assignment, ponders surgery

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uh oh................

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano, still feeling pain in his elbow, has halted rehabilitation work and may be considering surgery.

Francisco Liriano

Starting Pitcher

Minnesota Twins

Profile

2006 SEASON STATISTICS

GM W L BB K ERA

28 12 3 32 144 2.16

Liriano left the team's facility in Fort Myers, Fla., and was to consult with doctors. He began working out there earlier this month, trying to get healthy enough to pitch in winter ball.

"Francisco continued to experience pain while taking part in a throwing session, and at this point, he felt it was necessary to re-evaluate his situation," Gene Mato, one of Liriano's agents, told the Minneapolis Star Tribune. "After conferring with the Twins and the different medical personnel that have evaluated him, he will determine whether or not he wants to have surgery in the next week or so."

Liriano reported to Fort Myers for rehab shortly after the Twins' flameout in the AL Division Series, where they were swept by the Oakland Athletics. The team had hoped he could fully recover by the time pitchers and catchers report in February.

"He's frustrated," Twins general manager Terry Ryan said. "I know that."

Ryan, though, did not say if this newest twist has made surgery a more likely option.

Will Francisco Liriano throw a pitch for the Twins in 2007?

Yes

No

Liriano, who turns 23 on Thursday, went 12-3 with a 2.16 ERA during the season and was considered a frontrunner for the AL Rookie of the Year award before the injury. After struggling through an Aug. 7 start against Detroit, he left the game because of elbow soreness. A brief stint in rehab followed, and Liriano returned to the mound Sept. 13 against the A's. He cruised through the first two innings and appeared to be back to form before once again leaving the game early with elbow pain.

Liriano did not pitch again in 2006.

He was diagnosed with a mild sprain of the ulnar collateral ligament, an injury team doctors had hoped would clear itself up through rest and rehabilitation.

That plan, however, does not appear to be coming together.

An MRI test and meetings with several specialists found no structural damage, but his soreness has persisted.

According to the Star Tribune, it is not clear if surgery would necessarily mean Tommy John surgery -- which could keep Liriano out for all of next season -- or just an exploratory operation.

It is has already been a busy offseason for the Twins, who picked up center fielder Torii Hunter's $12 million option for next season and gave manager Ron Gardenhire a two-year contract extension.

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