One of the Minnesota Twins’ top pitching prospects has been arrested and charged with driving under the influence in Cape Coral.
Francisco Liriano, 22, was arrested just before 2 a.m. Thursday by Cape Coral police officers.
Liriano’s gold 2004 Lincoln Navigator was seen spinning its tires as he pulled out of a parking lot at the corner of SE 10th Place and 47th Terrace, said Cape Coral police spokesman Angelo Bitsis. He said the officer began to follow Liriano’s vehicle as he turned onto Cape Coral Parkway and headed east, toward the Cape Coral Bridge.
On Cape Coral Parkway, Liriano was clocked traveling 56 mph in a 35 mph zone, and the Navigator began to drift in and out of its lane, Bitsis said. Liriano’s vehicle was stopped at the foot of the bridge.
Officers spoke to Liriano, who was alone in the vehicle, and noticed a strong odor of alcohol, Bitsis said. After failing three standard field sobriety tests, he was arrested.
Liriano had a blood alcohol content of 0.133, Bitsis said. The legal limit for driving in Florida is 0.08.
Liriano was taken to the Lee County Jail, where he was released after posting $500 bail. He has a court date scheduled for 1 p.m. on April 17.
On Friday, Liriano said he was taking responsibility for his actions.
“I feel like I made a mistake and I have to pay for it,” Liriano said. “I have to be responsible for what I did. I’m really sorry for what happened. ... I made a big mistake.”
Twins general manager Terry Ryan said the 22-year-old left-hander will not be suspended or fined by the team.
“This is serious and we are obviously embarrassed about it, as is he,” Ryan said. “We’re going to let the letter of the law take effect here and see what the consequences are and so forth.
“We’re going to stand behind him. He made a mistake. He is a young man. I am embarassed about it. It puts us in a bad spot. But we all make mistakes.”
Liriano, widely considered to be the Twins’ top prospect and one of the top pitching prospects in the American League, missed a good portion of camp while pitching for the Dominican Republic in the World Baseball Classic. Liriano has been impressive on the mound this spring for the Twins, striking out seven in seven innings of work.
Liriano beat out three other left-handed pitchers this spring for a spot in the Twins’ bullpen.