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.
Giants’ right-hander Mark Melancon is considering surgery for an undisclosed injury, the pitcher told reporters prior to Friday’s game against the Phillies. Melancon did not divulge the exact location of the injury, but revealed that it had been plaguing him off and on since the 2012 season and was a separate issue from the right pronator strain that kept him sidelined through much of July and August. Giants’ head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner called the injury day-to-day and has not revealed a timetable for the right-hander’s return, should surgery become necessary.
Melancon, 32, has struggled to replicate the sparkling pitching line he produced with the Pirates and Nationals in 2016. He’s toting a 3.80 ERA through 25 appearances with San Francisco, flanked by a 1.1 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 over 23 2/3 innings. His season has been significantly shortened after multiple trips to the disabled list for a right forearm strain, and while he looked to be in line to resume his closing duties this week, the Giants will likely play it safe with the veteran righty to keep him from compromising his health in 2018.
Although the injury doesn’t appear to be severe in nature, it’s clearly intensified over the last few months. Per MLB.com’s Chris Haft, Melancon said he’s “had discomfort every day this season,” though he hopes to continue pitching through the remainder of 2017. The Giants aren’t on the verge of contending by any stretch of the imagination, but a solid end to the 2017 season could help Melancon make some headway as he looks to reclaim his status as the team’s closer next spring.
What happens when an irresistible force meets an immovable object? Just ask Javier Baez, who tracked down a sizzling 106-MPH ground ball from Jose Bautista on Friday afternoon. The defensive gem helped preserve the Cubs’ three-run lead in the top of the ninth inning, paving the way for Wade Davis‘ 25th save of the season.
Baez also impressed at the plate, collecting an RBI single in the second inning before getting tagged out at home by Miguel Montero on a convoluted 9-6-3-6-2 putout. He returned in the eighth inning to pester Tim Mayza and cleared the left field hedge with a 409-foot, two-run blast for his 20th home run of the year. With the win, the Cubs improved to 64-57 and now hold a scant 1.5-game lead over the Brewers in the NL Central.