Pirates starter Francisco Liriano struck out 11 batters over six innings in a tough luck loss to the Reds tonight. The 29-year-old lefty had always shown signs of promise but due to injuries and his own inconsistencies, he was never able to keep it together for more than a season at a time. With just the one run surrendered to the Reds on four hits and a walk, Liriano’s ERA fell to 2.17, helping make Pirates GM Neal Huntington look like a genius for grabbing him for a meager $1 million salary.
The Pirates have the fourth-best starting rotation ERA in the National League at 3.41, trailing the Cardinals, Reds, and Nationals.
The Braves have signed reliever Blaine Boyer to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training, MLB.com’s Mark Bowman reports. Bowman adds that the right-hander has a “good chance” to make the Braves’ bullpen out of spring training.
Boyer, 35, spent the past season with the Brewers, finishing with a 3.95 ERA and a 26/17 K/BB ratio in 66 innings.
Boyer, of course, started his professional baseball career with the Braves as they selected him in the third round of the 2000 draft. Since the Braves traded him in 2009, Boyer has pitched for the Cardinals, Diamondbacks, Mets, Padres, and Twins along with the Brewers.
Update (6:48 PM EST): Topkin reports the contract will be of the major league variety.
Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports that the Rays and free agent reliever Shawn Tolleson are close to finalizing a contract.
Tolleson, who turns 29 years old on Thursday, had an ugly 2016 season, finishing with a 7.68 ERA and a 29/10 K/BB ratio in 36 1/3 innings. He was one of the Rangers’ best relievers in the two seasons prior to that, however, which included saving 35 games in 2015.