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Liriano fills in for Contreras as All-Star

Liriano fills in for Contreras as All-Star

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PITTSBURGH -- For Francisco Liriano, it was a case of "better late than never."

Liriano, the Twins' rookie sensation who was edged out by White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski in the 2006 Monster All-Star Final Vote last week, was added to the American League All-Star team on Monday.

Liriano will serve as a replacement for White Sox starting pitcher Jose Contreras. The Chicago right-hander declared that he could not pitch in the Midsummer Classic at PNC Park on Tuesday night after throwing six innings against the Boston Red Sox on Sunday afternoon.

Liriano has been arguably the most dominant pitcher in the big leagues this season. He entered the All-Star break with a 10-1 record and a league-leading 1.83 ERA in 22 appearances, including a 9-1 mark and a 1.36 ERA in 10 starts. The 22-year-old southpaw gained international notoriety by outdueling Roger Clemens in the Rocket's return to the mound.

Liriano joins fellow left-hander Johan Santana and catcher Joe Mauer as the third Twin to be selected to participate in the 77th All-Star Game. Both of his Minnesota teammates agreed that Liriano was a deserving candidate to join them in Pittsburgh.

"There is no question that he should be here," said Santana. "The numbers that he has put up are impressive, unbelievable."

"He's been amazing for us," said Mauer. "I can't really say enough about what he has done this year. His stuff has been electric. He's obviously deserving."

Ed Eagle is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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