Twins name Francisco Liriano fifth starter

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As expected the Twins announced this afternoon that Francisco Liriano will be their fifth starter, with his first outing coming April 9 against the White Sox.
Liriano’s name was tossed into the closer mix with Joe Nathan out for the season, but he never seemed interested in a switch to the bullpen and Ron Gardenhire made it clear that he also preferred to give the 26-year-old southpaw another chance in the rotation.
Liriano was a mess last season after initially showing some promise in his 2008 return from Tommy John surgery, going 5-13 with a 5.80 ERA, but he dominated the Dominican Winter League this offseason and continued to thrive this spring while battling Brian Duensing and Glen Perkins for the fifth-starter gig.
Making his final start this afternoon Liriano tossed six shutout innings with eight strikeouts compared to three hits and three walks, slicing his overall spring ERA to 2.70 with a 30/5 K/BB ratio in 20 innings. Reviews of his raw stuff has been equally positive, so while he may never be the unhittable phenom who burst onto the scene in 2006, as elbow surgery fades further and further into his rear-view mirror it looks like Liriano may once again be an impact pitcher.

The Blue Jays are allergic to .500

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The Blue Jays dropped Thursday afternoon’s game to the Rangers 11-4, splitting the four-game home series. And, impressively, the Blue Jays failed for the ninth time to get back to .500. The club is now 35-37.

Here’s a look at all the times the Blue Jays could’ve evened out their won-lost record and what happened:

  • April 5 (0-1): Lost 3-1 to the Orioles
  • April 7 (1-2): Lost 10-8 to the Rays
  • June 1 (26-27): Lost 12-2 to the Yankees
  • June 3 (27-28): Lost 7-0 to the Yankees
  • June 5 (28-29): Lost 5-3 to the Athletics
  • June 13 (31-32): Lost 8-1 to the Rays
  • June 16 (32-33): Lost 11-4 to the White Sox
  • June 20 (34-35): Lost 6-1 to the Rangers
  • June 22 (35-36): Lost 11-4 to the Rangers

The Blue Jays are now a half-game behind the Orioles for fifth place in the AL East, but they’re only 5.5 games behind the first-place Yankees. Interestingly, if the Blue Jays played in the NL East and had the same record, they would be in second place. But even the Phillies — baseball’s worst team — have been at .500 or better for a few days: after winning Opening Day and after game Nos. 6, 18, 19, 20, 21, and 22.

Report: Marlins expected to trade Adeiny Hechavarria

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Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports reports that the Marlins are expected to trade shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria in the next few days.

Hechavarria, 28, is currently on a rehab assignment for a strained left oblique. It’s the second time this season he’s hit the sidelines with an oblique injury. Hechavarria is also hitting a disappointing .277/.288/.385 over 67 plate appearances, which is marginally better than his career averages.

While the Marlins are shopping Hechavarria at depressed value, there are two factors that give him value: he still plays good defense, and he’s under team control through the 2018 season. Passan does estimate that Hechavarria will see a pay raise from $4.3 million this season to $6-7 million next season in his third and final year of arbitration eligibility.

Passan adds that while the Marlins aren’t yet willing to shop outfielders Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna, relievers A.J. Ramos, David Phelps, and Kyle Barraclough are being made available.