It turns out that Francisco Liriano’s stint as a reliever won’t even last three weeks.
On the heels of Anthony Swarzak being knocked around for six runs over just 3 1/3 innings last night against the Tigers, the Twins will move Liriano back into the starting rotation Wednesday against the Athletics.
Liriano was removed from the rotation earlier this month after beginning the season 0-5 with a 9.45 ERA and 21/19 K/BB ratio over six starts. He wasn’t much better out of the bullpen, posting a 4.91 ERA and 9/7 K/BB ratio over 7 1/3 innings, but Twins manager Ron Gardenhire told Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com that he hopes the southpaw can add some stability to a rotation which has experienced quite a bit of turnover recently.
“We liked the way he was handling himself out there, and he needs to get back out there,” Gardenhire said. “We need him in our rotation. We can’t just keep bouncing around from guy to guy.”
Liriano has a 5.77 ERA over 168 1/3 innings dating back to the start of the 2011 season, so there’s not much optimism for a return to form, but he could draw some trade interest if he enjoys some success. The 28-year-old is due to hit free agency following the season.
Infielder Brett Lawrie successfully avoided arbitration and signed a one-year contract with the White Sox on Friday, per a team announcement. FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman added that the deal was for $3.5 million, significantly lower than the $4.125 million Lawrie was paid by the White Sox in 2016.
The White Sox acquired Lawrie last December in a swap for minor league arms Zack Erwin and J.B. Wendelken. After splitting time at second and third base for the Athletics in 2015, Lawrie slotted in at second base and DH for the White Sox and batted .248/.310/.413 with 12 home runs in 384 PA. While it’s strange to see a healthy, fairly productive player receive a salary reduction in arbitration, Lawrie missed nearly half of the season with a strain in his left hamstring, though he’s projected to return at full health by the start of the 2017 season.
Left-hander Brian Duensing signed a one-year, $2 million contract with the Cubs on Friday, per a report from FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman.
The free agent spent the bulk of his 2016 season with the Orioles after receiving a call-up from Triple-A Norfolk in early June. He underwent elbow surgery several weeks later when a freak bullpen injury revealed cartilage chips and inflammation in his pitching elbow, but recovered to finish the season with a 4.05 ERA and 10 strikeouts in 13 1/3 innings for the club. The Orioles utilized him for a final out during the AL Wild Card game, during which Duensing recorded a five-pitch strikeout in the ninth inning of their 5-2 loss to the Blue Jays.
The 33-year-old is currently expected to bulk up the Cubs’ left-handed relief corps, with fellow left-hander Mike Montgomery slated for the rotation in 2017.