Francisco Liriano’s groin injury put his Opening Day start in jeopardy, but Tom Singer of MLB.com reports that the Pirates left-hander “has been given the green light” to pitch Game 1 against the Cubs.
Liriano began last season on the disabled list with a broken right arm from an offseason accident and didn’t make his Pirates debut until May 11, but from that point forward he was one of the best pitchers in the league with a 3.02 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 161 innings.
This is a huge season for Liriano, because another excellent, healthy year could lead to a big long-term deal as a 30-year-old free agent, whereas this time last offseason he was coming off a disappointing final season with the Twins and had to settle for a modest deal from the Pirates.
Pitcher David Phelps has a torn UCL and will undergo Tommy John surgery, ending his 2018 season, the Mariners announced on Wednesday. Phelps was making brief one-inning stints in the Cactus League as he worked his way back from a procedure to remove a bone spur from his elbow last September. He said he felt the ligament tear on his final pitch against the Angels in his March 17 appearance.
Phelps, 31, was expected to set up for closer Edwin Diaz. The right-hander, between the Marlins and Mariners last season, posted a 3.40 ERA with a 62/26 K/BB ratio in 55 2/3 innings. He and the Mariners avoided arbitration in January, agreeing on a $5.55 million salary for the 2018 campaign. Phelps will become eligible to become a free agent at the end of the season.
As the Mariners noted in their statement, the expected recovery period for Tommy John surgery is 12-15 months, so this very likely cuts into Phelps’ 2019 season as well.