Originally posted on Pro Sports Daily  |  Last updated 7/19/12

Minnesota Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano took the loss in a 2-1 setback to the Baltimore Orioles on Wednesday at Target Field, but he showed a large handful of major league scouts what they had come to see. Liriano fanned 10 in six innings in his eighth quality start since returning to the rotation May 30.

With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaching, the timing is perfect.

"He's a smart kid. He knows what's going on," said Scott Ullger, who managed Wednesday's game after Ron Gardenhire went home sick with a stomach virus in the fifth inning. "He's been around."

Liriano surrendered a long, two-run homer to Adam Jones in the first inning before settling down to strike out 10 of the next 20 Orioles batters. The Yankees, Blue Jays, Mets and Braves all have scouted Liriano in recent weeks, and anyone with a passing interest in baseball knows Liriano, whose one-year, $5.55 million contract expires at season's end, is available.

"I try not to listen to it," Liriano insisted. "Whether I'm worried about it or not worried about it, it's not going to change anything, so I'm just happy to be here, and whatever happens, happens. I don't know if anything will happen; I'm not paying attention to it."

His trade value keeps increasing. Since returning to the rotation, Liriano is 3-4 with a 2.84 ERA in 10 starts, a far cry from 0-5 with a 9.45 ERA in his first seven starts.

"Early on it wasn't Frankie," Ullger said. "Now it's the true Frankie."

Baltimore starter Tommy Hunter outdueled Liriano on Wednesday; Hunter's lone mistake -- a Josh Willingham homer in the fourth -- came with no one on, while Liriano's mistake followed a single to J.J. Hardy. But it wasn't Hunter the scouts came to see, whether Liriano wants to know or not.

"To be honest, I haven't even called my agent about it," Liriano said. "Like I said, I don't want to think about it too much."

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