Liriano on target to start Friday

Liriano on target to start Friday

TAMPA, Fla. -- Francisco Liriano will make his Grapefruit League debut on Friday, Twins manager Ron Gardenhire confirmed on Wednesday.

Liriano will get the start against the Red Sox at City of Palms Park in the 12:05 p.m. CT contest. It will be the left-hander's first game action since he underwent Tommy John elbow reconstruction surgery in November 2006.

The contest with the Red Sox is one of two split-squad games the Twins will play on Friday. Gardenhire said he will travel with the other half of the team to play the Blue Jays in Dunedin, Fla., but pitching coach Rick Anderson will remain in Fort Myers to watch Liriano's performance.

Liriano is scheduled to pitch two innings. Gardenhire said that plan is tentative, as the coaching staff will wait to see how the left-hander makes it through his first inning.

Liriano was a late arrival at Twins camp on Feb. 27, 10 days after the official report date for pitchers and catchers, due to visa troubles, but the left-hander threw in two games at the Twins Academy in the Dominican Republic before his arrival. Liriano threw two innings in his first game and three in the second contest.

Kelly Thesier is a reporter for This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.