Red Sox “have expressed interest in” Justin Duchscherer

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Rob Bradford of WEEI.com reports that the Red Sox “have expressed interest in” free agent right-hander Justin Duchscherer, who missed all of 2009 and most of 2010 following hip and elbow surgeries.

Duchscherer was originally drafted by the Red Sox in the eighth round back in 1996 and was traded to the Rangers in 2001 for Doug Mirabelli.

When healthy he’s been a very effective pitcher for the A’s as both a starter and reliever, posting a 3.13 ERA in 455 career innings, but he’s logged more than 60 innings in a season just once in the past five years.

He’ll likely have to settle for an inventive-laden one-year contract at this point and Duchscherer does have a relationship with new Boston pitching coach Curt Young from their time together in Oakland, which along with the Red Sox’s recent tendency to pursue pitchers coming off injuries makes him a plausible target for Theo Epstein and company.

Phillies sign Francisco Liriano and Neil Walker to minor league deals

Francisco Liriano
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Robert Murray and MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand reported earlier, respectively, that the Phillies signed pitcher Francisco Liriano and infielder Neil Walker to minor league contracts. If he makes the major league roster, Liriano will earn a salary of $1.5 million with an additional $1.25 million available through performance incentives. Walker’s contract information is not yet known.

Liriano, 36, struggled from 2016-18 but enjoyed a productive year out of the bullpen for the Pirates this past season. He posted a 3.47 ERA with 63 strikeouts and 35 walks over 70 innings. The lefty was quite effective against same-handed batters, limiting fellow lefties to a .659 OPS. That would figure to be a key component if Liriano makes the Phillies’ Opening Day roster.

Walker, 34, hit .261/.344/.395 with eight home runs and 38 RBI over 381 plate appearances with the Marlins last year. The veteran is versastile, having played first, second, and third base along with both corner outfield spots in recent seasons. Despite Walker’s versatility, it is tough to see room on the Phillies’ roster for him, barring injuries to other players. It never hurts to have depth.