Francisco Liriano’s long awaited Pittsburgh Pirates debut could be right around the corner.
If everything goes according to plan, Liriano should be on schedule to take the ball for the first time May 10 when the Bucs play at the New York Mets.
Karen Price of the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reports:
Francisco Liriano is scheduled to pitch five innings (80 pitches) on Thursday for Triple-A Indianapolis, six innings (90 pitches) on Tuesday and 100 pitches on May 5, which puts him in line for a start with the Pirates on May 10 at the New York Mets.
After signing a two-year deal with the Pirates in December, Liriano broke a bone in his non-throwing arm while trying to play a prank on his kids on Christmas Day. The Pirates renegotiated his two-year, $12.75 million free agent contract after that incident so that only $1 million of the deal is now guaranteed, but can make up the rest through performance-based incentives.
The 29-year-old left-hander posted a 5.34 ERA, 1.47 WHIP and 167/87 K/BB ratio across 156.2 innings last season between the Minnesota Twins and Chicago White Sox.
Despite his struggles the past couple of seasons, he’s likely an upgrade for the Pirates.
Fellow southpaw Jonathan Sanchez will remain in the rotation for now and if the Pirates can find a way to survive with him for a few more weeks, it is likely Liriano will take his spot in the rotation.
If Sanchez continues to pitch poorly, I would expect another move to be made in the upcoming weeks before Liriano is ready.
Liriano didn’t fare well in his last rehab start, allowing four runs on four hits and three walks Saturday night for Class AA Altoona, needing 67 pitches to finish 2.2 innings, but his stats really don’t mean much at this point, as long as he’s getting his work in.
The Pirates have until May 14 to activate Liriano, so getting him in the rotation on May 10 works out well.