BRADENTON, Fla. -- Twins general manager Terry Ryan and manager Ron Gardenhire had nothing but positive things to say about former Minnesota left-hander Francisco Liriano, who signed with the Pirates as a free agent this offseason.

Ryan said the Twins had discussions with Liriano's agent this offseason to bring back the lefty after he was traded to the White Sox in July for left-hander Pedro Hernandez and infielder Eduardo Escobar.

Liriano said that the Twins discussed a two-year contract but Pittsburgh offered him a better deal. Liriano originally agreed to a two-year deal worth $12.75 million with the Pirates but it was later amended because he broke his right arm by accidentally slamming it in a door while playing around with his children on Christmas. Liriano, who has yet to pitch this spring, is guaranteed only $1 million this season with incentives in place to reach his original deal.

"I wanted to go to the National League," said Liriano, who hopes to return to action by mid-to-late April. "I wanted to start over, try to be more consistent, get my confidence back, go deep in games, pitch at least 200 innings. Just wanted something new."

Liriano had an up-and-down career in Minnesota with a 4.33 ERA with 788 strikeouts and 324 walks in 783 1/3 innings over parts of seven seasons.

He broke on the scene as a rookie in 2006 with a 2.16 ERA in 121 innings but missed the '07 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery. He had a bounce-back year in '10 with a 3.62 ERA in 191 2/3 innings but posted a combined 5.18 ERA with the Twins over the last two seasons before being traded to Chicago.

"We saw him at the time when he probably was the best pitcher in baseball in '06," Gardenhire said. "You don't get more dominant than he was that year. You saw him go through his struggles, but through it all you saw him go to the park and work his tail off. He did everything we asked. He gave us everything. I hope it all goes well for him because he's the kind of guy you root for. Always will and always have."

Ryan also had kind words for Liriano, who was originally acquired by the Twins in the 2003 trade with the Giants that sent A.J. Pierzynski to San Francisco for Joe Nathan, Boof Bonser and Liriano.

"All of us that have been affiliated with Francisco over the years are appreciative of what he did for us," Ryan said. "He was very good on a few of those very good teams. I feel bad for what he's going through now, that's unfortunate. And obviously, he went through the Tommy John phase with us as well. He was a very popular teammate, he was a very diligent worker, he had a lot of talent."

De Vries continues impressive spring

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Right-hander Cole De Vries continued his impressive showing in Spring Training on Saturday against the Pirates, having not yet allowed an earned run in Grapefruit League play.

De Vries, making his fourth outing, gave up one unearned run on one hit and a walk over three innings against the Pirates. He's allowed two hits and a walk in seven scoreless innings so far this spring.

"I feel like I've been effective and for the most part I've been doing what I want to do out there," De Vries said. "So we'll see if we can keep it going."

De Vries was a pleasant surprise with the Twins last year, posting a 4.11 ERA in 17 appearances, including 16 starts. He's competing for the final spot in the rotation this spring along with Kyle Gibson, Liam Hendriks and P.J. Walters.

"I take it as though it's my spot and my spot to lose," De Vries said. "I want to go out there and attack and pitch as well as I can. If the staff is looking at it like it's not my spot and somebody else's, I want to make it as hard as I can on them. And if it is my spot, I want to prove that there's no doubt that I deserve it."

Guerra to miss three months with blood clot

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Right-hander Deolis Guerra suffered a blood clot in his right shoulder and is expected to be out about three months, Twins general manager Terry Ryan announced Saturday.

Guerra was diagnosed by Twins doctors in Fort Myers, Fla., and will be hospitalized for a few days to allow the blood clot to dissipate. But he's also set to undergo surgery -- a rib resection -- which will remove part of his first rib to give his artery more room.

"They're going to monitor that situation for about another maybe day or two and then he'll get out," Ryan said. "And then eventually we'll have to have some surgery on that."

Guerra initially felt numbness in his shoulder while in Puerto Rico as he was set to pitch for Team Venezuela in the World Baseball Classic. He last pitched in an exhibition game for Venezuela against the Mets in Port St. Lucie on Wednesday, and gave up two runs on three hits in one inning.

Guerra, who was acquired by the Twins in 2008 in the trade that sent Johan Santana to the Mets, had a 4.11 ERA with 71 strikeouts in 70 innings split between Double-A New Britain and Triple-A Rochester last season. He's not on the club's 40-man roster and he was expected to start the season at Triple-A Rochester.

"Obviously the kid is disappointed," Ryan said. "We'll do everything to take care of it, and he'll be healthy again, he'll be pitching again. It's not like this is anything that's going to end his career."

Mastroianni returns to lineup, starts in right

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Outfielder Darin Mastroianni returned to the lineup on Saturday against the Pirates after missing more than a week with a left hamstring strain.

Mastroianni initially suffered the injury while in the Venezuelan Winter League but re-aggravated it on Feb. 28 while checking his swing. But he was cleared by team doctors to play on Saturday and started in right field and batted leadoff.

"He's been working hard," Twins manager Ron Gardenhire said. "The trainers tell me he's been doing fine."

Fellow outfielder Oswaldo Arcia, who has yet to play in a Grapefruit League game because of a pulled intercostal muscle, could return to action as soon as Sunday. But the Twins are being cautious with Chris Parmelee, who is still experiencing tightness in his right groin and will likely be held out until Wednesday's game against the Orioles.

"Parm is day to day," Gardenhire said. "I told him no swings today and we'll see where he is tomorrow."