Liriano, who spent seven seasons with the Twins, will make his White Sox debut against his former team, just three days after Minnesota traded him away."I don't want to get too excited, too nervous," Liriano said Monday. "I'm just going to go out there and try to do my job and help the team win some ballgames. Facing my old teammates my first game is weird, but you've just got to go out there and play."
The Twins aren't too thrilled about facing Liriano, either.
"I wish I could say I was looking forward to that," said center fielder Denard Span, "but I'm really not."
It has been a rough year to this point for Liriano, who was 3-10 with a 5.31 ERA in 17 starts (22 appearances) for the Twins. In Liriano's last start, against the White Sox, he allowed seven runs in only 2 2/3 innings. Chicago is hoping a trade to a contender helps a guy who has been dominant at times in his career.
"[There's] more pressure," Liriano said of pitching in a pennant race. "I'm not going to change everything. I'm just going to go out there and try to do my best and do my job and give the team a chance to win some ballgames. If I do my part, they're playing pretty good baseball right now. I just want to fit in and try to do my part."
The Twins will counter with right-hander Nick Blackburn, who struggled mightily when he faced the White Sox last Wednesday. Blackburn allowed eight runs -- including two home runs -- on 10 hits over 4 1/3 innings in a losing effort.
"When you're falling behind, you can't continue just to flop up curveballs and changeups," Blackburn said afterward. "At some point, you've got to try to let them hit it at somebody. A lot of those at-bats today, they were just falling in."
Other than a July 20 outing against the Royals in which he allowed only one run, it's been a rough couple of months for Blackburn. He's allowed four or more runs in six of his last seven starts, and he's given up multiple home runs in four of those outings. Blackburn is 4-6 with a 7.99 ERA in 15 starts this season.
Twins: Manship more confident this time around
Jeff Manship, recalled from Triple-A Rochester on Sunday, returns to the big leagues with more confidence than he had when he was sent down in late June. The right-hander posted a 1.45 ERA in six starts for Rochester, and he said he feels much better now with his changeup.
"It helped a lot knowing that I have confidence in all four pitches now," Manship said. "I kind of got away from that when I was here. I threw a lot of changeups down there and got real comfortable with that pitch. It's kind of a difference-maker for me when I establish that and throw strikes with it."
Manship had a 10.97 ERA in 10 2/3 innings during his first stint with the Twins.
General manager Terry Ryan said he has received a lot of calls in the last few days about the availability of players like first baseman Justin Morneau and outfielders Span and Josh Willingham, but he did not say how likely another move would be. The non-Waiver Trade Deadline passes at 3 p.m. CT on Tuesday.
White Sox: Santiago optioned to Triple-A Charlotte
Left-handed reliever Hector Santiago was optioned to Triple-A Charlotte prior to Monday's contest with the Twins to make room for Liriano on the roster.
The 24-year-old Santiago started the year as the White Sox closer and picked up four saves. He currently has a 2-1 record with a 3.66 ERA and 43 strikeouts over 39 1/3 innings. Santiago will start for Charlotte with a goal of eventually becoming a starter at the big league level.
"Yeah, maybe in the future he could be," White Sox manager Robin Ventura said. "Right now, it's better for him to do that when he goes down there, get innings, get stronger, use more pitches."
Ventura said Monday that left-hander Chris Sale will start sometime in the next five or six days. Sale is getting extended rest after starting on Friday to make sure he's fresh for September. Sale is 12-3 with a 2.61 ERA on the season.
Blackburn is 9-8 with a 4.64 ERA in 19 career starts against the White Sox.
Liriano is 13-13 with a 4.11 ERA in 39 career starts at Target Field.
White Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski hit a three-run home in his first at-bat Monday night after missing five games with a mild right oblique strain. Pierzynski went 1-for-5 in the game and made a costly throwing error in the ninth inning of the Twins 7-6 walk-off victory.