Left-handed starting pitcher Francisco Liriano is set to make his debut for the Pittsburgh Pirates this weekend during the team's series against the New York Mets, according to Bill Brink of The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.
Liriano's debut is expected to come on Saturday, the next day the Pirates require a fifth starter. He recently appeared in what should be his final minor league rehab contest for Pittsburgh's Triple-A affiliate. Over five innings, the southpaw allowed four runs on seven hits with one home run, one walk and six strike outs. He threw 98 pitches during his outing.
His Pirates' debut delayed due to a broken right humerus bone, Liriano started the season on the disabled list. Pittsburgh has been building up his innings in the minors, and they hope to have stretched him out enough for his first major-league start of the season.
A spot in Pittsburgh's rotation was opened up with the demotion of starting pitcher Jonathan Sanchez. Liriano will slide into his slot, but another corresponding roster move will be required when he's activated.
The Pirates signed Liriano to a one-year agreement over the winter. He lost a significant amount of guaranteed money once his arm injury -- which he sustained on Christmas Day -- was revealed. He's now hoping to build back his value in effort to cash in next offseason.
Over seven seasons in the majors, Liriano's been one of the most erratic pitchers in baseball. Some season he looks like a front of the rotation start, as he garnered Cy Young Award consideration in 2010. The 29-year-old owns a career ERA of 4.40 with a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 2.38.
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