Liriano leaves first start in month with elbow pain

MINNEAPOLIS -- Minnesota Twins left-hander Francisco Liriano, making his first start in more than a month, left in the third inning of Wednesday's game with left elbow pain.

Liriano came off the disabled list earlier this week after being shelved since Aug. 8 with a strained ligament in his throwing arm. The Twins hoped his return to the starting rotation would be the
boost they needed to carry them to the postseason.

The 22-year-old Dominican went 12-3 with a 2.19 ERA and was one of the favorites for the AL rookie of the year award before injuring his arm. Before, he combined with ace Johan Santana to form one of the most formidable one-two punches in the majors.

He breezed through the first two innings on Wednesday against Oakland, throwing just 22 pitches. But after giving up a bloop single to Nick Swisher to start the third inning, Liriano came off the mound awkwardly after throwing a ball to Bobby Kielty.

Team trainers and manager Ron Gardenhire came out to look at Liriano while the home crowd held its breath. After a short meeting, Liriano was pulled from the game and replaced by fellow rookie Matt Garza.