UPDATE: Pittsburgh has placed Liriano on the disabled list.
Francisco Liriano’s disappointing season continued Tuesday, as the reigning Comeback Player of the Year exited his start against the Cubs in the fourth inning with an oblique injury.
No disabled list move has been made yet, but oblique strains almost always require at least a couple weeks on the sidelines and can linger much longer than that. Or as Pirates manager Clint Hurdle put it afterward when talking to Tom Singer of MLB.com: “It might be a medical record if a guy can come back in four days and pitch.”
Before leaving yesterday’s start Liriano allowed two runs in three innings, pushing his ERA to 4.60 after he went 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 161 innings last year. He also allowed his eighth homer of the season after serving up a total of nine homers all of last year. And now he’s going to join rotation-mate Gerrit Cole on the DL.
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Clayton Kershaw had nothing left to prove when he exited the mound during his last Cactus League start on Friday. He finished camp with a 0.00 ERA, made all the more impressive after he extended his scoreless streak to 21 1/3 innings following 6 2/3 frames of one-hit ball against the Royals.
In six spring training starts this year, the Dodgers southpaw racked up 12 hits, four walks and 23 strikeouts. His velocity appeared to fluctuate between the high-80s and low-90s from start to start, but manager Dave Roberts told reporters that he expects Kershaw to get back up to the 93 m.p.h. range next week. Kershaw is tabbed for his eighth consecutive Opening Day start on Thursday.
The 30-year-old lefty is poised to enter his 11th season with the club in 2018. He went 18-4 in 27 starts last year and turned in a 2.31 ERA, 1.5 BB/9 and 10.4 SO/9 over 175 innings. He suffered his fair share of bumps and bruises along the way, including a lower back strain that required a five-week stay on the disabled list.
The Dodgers will open their season against the Giants on Thursday, March 29 at 7:08 PM ET. Given the sudden rash of injuries that hit the Giants’ rotation earlier today, Kershaw’s Opening Day opponent has not yet been announced.