Originally posted on Fox Sports North  |  Last updated 3/8/12
FORT MYERS, Fla. A year ago, Francisco Liriano entered spring training with a nagging shoulder injury that stuck with him for nearly all of the 2011 season. This year is a different story for the Twins left-hander, who says he came to camp feeling healthy. He proved it Thursday, striking out five Rays batters in three innings of work in Minnesota's 1-0 loss at Hammond Stadium. Liriano allowed just one hit and didn't walk a batter. He faced the minimum through three innings as leadoff hitter Desmond Jennings was caught stealing after opening the game with a single. Liriano struck out two runners in both the first and second inning and induced a pair of grounders to shortstop to end the third inning and his day. "The way I feel right now, nothing's bothering me right now," Liriano said after Thursday's start. That's a far cry from last year, when he was placed on the disabled list twice, both times with shoulder problems. But Liriano had a healthy offseason and played winter ball in his native Dominican Republic. "Last year I came in with a shoulder problem, all that stuff. This year, I played winter ball and I think I got myself ready for spring," Liriano said. "For me, it's a big difference to pitch winter ball. When I go home and I don't pitch winter ball, I feel like I haven't pitched for like a year." Liriano was efficient in his three innings of work, throwing just 34 pitches. Four of those were sliders, pitching coach Rick Anderson said. "I thought he was good. I thought he worked good in the strike zone," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "Andy and I were talking early that it looked like he was flying out, but he really commanded it pretty good. He controlled the game out there." Liriano had a career-high 75 walks in 134 13 innings last season, including six during his no-hitter against the Chicago White Sox. But he rarely fell behind in the count Thursday. "That's what I'm trying to do, just go deeper in the game, throw less pitches per inning," Liriano said. "I think I'm getting better at that." The 28-year-old Liriano was 9-10 with a 5.09 ERA last season after an impressive 2010 campaign in which he went 14-10 with a 3.62 ERA. Like many other Twins from last year's 99-loss team, Liriano will need to stay healthy to post numbers resembling his stats from 2010. "Just trying to locate my pitches and stay healthy," Liriano said of his goals for spring. "When I'm pitching, I just go out there and try and do my job, hit my spot with my fastball and try to locate all my pitches." Mauer goes hitless but throws out a runner: Twins catcher Joe Mauer was 0-for-2 with a strikeout Thursday, but he impacted the game with his defense. Mauer threw out Rays left fielder Desmond Jennings in the first inning after Jennings tried to steal second base. Various ailments last year affected Mauer's ability to throw, but he fired on the money to second base Thursday to nail Jennings. "Joe can throw. When he's out there on the field and feeling good, he's got a cannon. We all know that," Gardenhire said. "He's feeling good. You can see it. He's moving around good, he's swinging good. He's doing everything." Mauer won't catch in Friday's home game against St. Louis, but Gardenhire said he will be the Twins' designated hitter. Mauer will have Saturday off when Minnesota travels to Bradenton to face the Pirates. White back in coach's box: Minnesota first base coach Jerry White was hospitalized earlier this week with stomach and chest tightness, but he was back at his post near first base during Thursday's game at Hammond Stadium. He also coached first base on the road Wednesday in Sarasota. "It was real bad," White said. "I was just kind of hoping to be there for one night and then went home and tried to lay down right away, and boom." Before Thursday's game, White said he "overdid it" while lifting weights, which was part of the problem. He also attributed his heartburn-like symptoms to his diet. "I just need to cut down on my spices and sauces," White said. "I eat right. I like hot stuff and fried stuff. I need to get away from that." Follow Tyler Mason on Twitter.
GET THE YARDBARKER APP:
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45
MORE FROM YARDBARKER

Report: Broncos negotiating deal with Malik Jackson

Michael Jordan wants Warriors to break Bulls record

Joe Mauer says concussions have affected his hitting

Kobe once tried to recruit Dirk Nowitzki to Lakers

Report: Broncos waiting on Manning to talk with Osweiler

NBA commish wants to look into hack-a-player issue

LIKE WHAT YOU SEE?
GET THE DAILY NEWSLETTER:

Report: Jose Fernandez has 'soured' on Marlins brass

Zach LaVine dedicates dunk contest win to Flip Saunders

Alleged Manning sexual assault cited in Tennessee lawsuit

Arian Foster: It's hard for me to watch football

Isaiah Thomas recruiting players at All-Star weekend

Report: Charles Woodson joining ESPN's Sunday NFL crew

Strength coach gives Georgia OL reality check about weather

Country singer wears Fournette LSU jersey after losing bet

Carrie Underwood trolls Ryan Johansen for kissing stick

DeMarcus Cousins on looking angry: 'I'm an ugly dude'

WATCH: Dustin Johnson's son steals Jordan Spieth's club

Fans want Floyd Mayweather to buy their soccer team

Tennessee shares Valentines-themed photo of packed stadium

NY Post writer takes harsh shot at Jason Pierre-Paul

LaVine, Gordon put on best NBA dunk contest in years

WATCH: Thompson beats teammate Curry in 3-point contest

NFL teams, players hand out awesome Valentines

Earl Campbell ‘disappointed’ in Johnny Manziel, wants to help

Big man Karl-Anthony Towns wins NBA skills challenge

MLB News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
the YARDBARKER app
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

LaVine dedicates dunk contest win to Flip Saunders

Ranking the ten best free agent pitcher signings

Who had the best NBA All-Star Game of the last 40 years?

The winners and losers of the 2016 MLB offseason

On Kobe Bryant and taking greatness for granted

Bucks need to choose between wins, development

Fantasy booking WrestleMania 32

Unrestricted free agents each team must consider re-signing

QUIZ: Name the winners of the NBA Slam Dunk Contest

Thank you Daniel Bryan

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Help
Follow Yardbarker