Year after Tommy John surgery, Twins' Liriano says arm ready to go

Francisco Liriano has a clean bill of health, more than a year removed from ligament-replacement surgery.

According to the left-hander, who attended the annual TwinsFest over the weekend, he could give 100 percent for the Twins immediately.

"I'm throwing all my pitches now," said Liriano, according to the St. Paul Pioneer Press. "Sliders, changeups, everything -- no problem."

It's a welcome notion for the Twins, who lost Carlos Silva to free agency and who continue to shop two-time Cy Young Award winner Johan Santana.

Silva signed a $48-million, four-year contract with the Mariners in December.

But Liriano, who went 12-3 in 2006 before a sore elbow ended his rookie season, says he's showing no side effects 14 months after Tommy John surgery.

"There is nothing to tell anymore, because my arm feels great now," said Liriano. "I can't say it hurts this much, or I still have this work to do, anything like that. I think I'm ready to go, right now. There is no soreness, no pain, nothing. It's the same every time I throw -- there's nothing for me to say because I can pitch normally."

With Liriano healthy, the Twins would appear in good position to recoup some of the starting rotation it figures to lose this offseason. Liriano and the right-handed Scott Baker, who is 17-20 in 48 career starts over three years with the Twins, would anchor the unit.

"It's funny to think about it like that," said Baker, whose 9-9 season in 2007 included eight perfect innings in August against the Royals. "I guess I'm as ready as I'm going to be."

But beyond Santana's status, the Twins' fortunes on the mound in 2008 hinge on Liriano's possible re-emergence. And the Dominican says he's "in shape" and raring to go.

"My arm is great," he said. "There's nothing more to do. I will try my best to be the same guy I was [in 2006]."