After blowing a 5-0 lead and losing to the Angels 6-5 on Friday, the Twins had more bad news for their fans, announcing that Francisco Liriano would be scratched from his scheduled start Saturday due to a sore shoulder.
Anthony Swarzak will take his place.
Liriano, who pitched a no-hitter against the White Sox earlier this month, is just 3-5 with a 5.73 ERA this season, though he has turned in quality starts three of his last four times out. Manager Ron Gardenhire said he hopes Liriano will just miss the one start.
Swarzak lost his one start for the Twins this year, giving up five runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Rays last month. He’s 3-9 with a 6.41 ERA lifetime in 13 starts and two relief appearances for Minnesota.
If Liriano lands on the DL, it will be for the first time since Aug. 2009. He missed three weeks then with left arm fatigue. Previously, he sat out the entire 2007 season following Tommy John surgery.
A report from the Baltimore Sun’s Dan Connolly suggests that free agent catcher Welington Castillo currently tops the Orioles’ list of potential backstop targets for the 2017 season. With Matt Wieters on the market, the Orioles lack a suitable platoon partner for Caleb Joseph behind the dish, and Connolly adds that the club has been discussing a multi-year deal with Castillo’s representatives since the Winter Meetings.
Castillo batted .264/.322/.423 with the Diamondbacks in 2016, racking up 14 home runs and driving in a career-high 68 RBI in 457 PA. His bat provides much of his upside, and Connolly quoted an anonymous National League scout who believes that the 29-year-old’s defensive profile has fallen short of his potential in recent years.
For better or worse, both the Orioles and Castillo appear far from locking in a deal for 2017. Both the Rays and Braves have expressed interest in the veteran catcher during the past week, while the Orioles are reportedly considering Wieters, Nick Hundley and Chris Iannetta as alternatives behind the plate.
The Phillies reportedly signed veteran outfielder Daniel Nava to a minor league contract, according to Matt Gelb of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Nava began the season on a one-year contract with the Angels, during which he slashed .235/.309/.303 through 136 PA in the first half of 2016. He was flipped to the Royals in late August for a player to be named later and saw the remainder of his year go down the drain on an .091 average through 12 PA in Anaheim. After getting the boot from the Angels’ 40-man roster in November, the 33-year-old outfielder elected free agency.
Nava is expected to compete for a bench role on the Phillies’ roster in the spring. As it currently stands, the club’s projected 2017 outfield features Howie Kendrick and Odubel Herrera, with precious little depth behind them. Nava’s bat is underwhelming, but at the very least he offers the Phillies a warm body in left field and a potential platoon partner for one of their younger options, a la Tyler Goeddel or Roman Quinn.