ARLINGTON, Texas (AP) — The surprising Chicago White Sox have made a move to stay on top of the AL Central, acquiring left-hander Francisco Liriano from division rival Minnesota Twins on Saturday night.
The Twins will receive infielder Eduardo Escobar and lefty prospect Pedro Hernandez. The White Sox tweeted the news after the Twins beat the Cleveland Indians and Chicago won in Texas.
“He just has to come here and be solid,” Chicago first baseman Paul Konerko said. “He doesn’t have to throw shutouts. He just has to give us a chance to win. That’s all we’re looking for.”
An All-Star in 2006, Liriano was expected to be one of the Twins’ top starters before undergoing reconstructive elbow surgery later that same year. His career has since been plagued by inconsistency and injury.
He pitched a no-hitter last May 3 against the White Sox but was 9-10 with a 5.09 ERA for 2011.
This year Liriano struggled at the start and was demoted to the bullpen after his ERA rose to 9.45 in early May. He has brought that number down to 5.31 in 11 starts since his return to the rotation but still is 3-10 this season. He has walked 55 and struck out 109 — including a 15 K game on July 13, a 6-3 loss.
In his most recent start, the White Sox tagged Liriano for seven runs in 2 2-3 innings on Monday.
“Hopefully the change of scenery will help,” White Sox designated hitter Adam Dunn said. “If he’ll buy in to what we’re doing over here, he can get back to what we know he’s capable of doing.”
The 28-year-old Liriano is 50-52 with a 4.33 ERA in his career.
Liriano, scheduled to be a free agent after this season, adds depth to a rotation headed by All-Star left-hander Chris Sale, right-handers Jake Peavy and Phil Humber and lefty Jose Quintana, who is 4-1 with a 2.58 ERA filling in for injured John Danks.
Danks threw a bullpen session Friday, but there is no target date for his return.
Sale, who leads the White Sox with 12 wins, has already thrown a career-high 124 innings. First-year manager Robin Ventura said he may look to get the left-hander some extra rest later in the season.
Chicago has a 2½-game lead over the Detroit Tigers, the favorites to win the division.
“You do everything you possibly can to make us better pitching wise,” Ventura said.
Twins general manager Terry Ryan said Liriano will stay in Minnesota until the White Sox arrive from Texas after Sunday’s game. Both Escobar and Hernandez will go to Triple-A Rochester.
Brian Duensing will start for Minnesota Sunday in place of Liriano.
Escobar, 23, was hitting .207 (18 for 87) with four doubles and three RBIs in 36 games for the White Sox.
Hernandez is also 23. He has split time at Double- and Triple-A this year, going 8-2 with a 2.94 ERA. He made his big league debut against Boston on July 18 and allowed eight runs in four innings.
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