Twins LHP Liriano to undergo “Tommy John” surgery on Monday

MINNEAPOLIS (Ticker) - Francisco Liriano’s brilliant rookie season ended with him sidelined by elbow soreness. Unfortunately, the lefthander will spend his second season rehabilitating from surgery.

The Minnesota Twins announced on Friday that Liriano will undergo “Tommy John” surgery Monday in Los Angeles and likely miss the entire 2007 campaign.

Dr. Lewis Yocum examined Liriano on Friday morning and determined that the pitcher needed surgery to repair an elbow ligament.

Liriano had been plagued by a strained ligament in his elbow since early August. He attempted a comeback, but left a September 13 start against Oakland in the third inning due to discomfort in the elbow and missed the rest of the season.

After the Twins were beaten in the American League Division Series by Oakland, Liriano visited with Dr. James Andrews in Alabama and with Dr. John Uribe in Miami before meeting with Yocum, who will perform the surgery.

The 23-year-old Liriano was often compared to 2004 Cy Young Award winner and teammate Johan Santana last season. Like Santana, Liriano is a lefthander with a 90-plus miles-per-hour fastball and a tantalizing changeup.

Santana and Liriano provided the Twins with a dynamic 1-2 punch at the top of the rotation. Santana’s excellence was expected, but Liriano proved to be quite a surprise with a 12-3 record and 2.19 ERA in 15 starts. He allowed just 89 hits in 121 innings with 144 strikeouts.

The loss of Liriano is a major blow to the Twins, who are also expected to lose veteran righthander Brad Radke from the rotation. Radke, who pitched with a stress fracture in his right shoulder socket in the final month of the season, indicated that he plans to retire.

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Updated Friday, Nov 3, 2006