Report: Yankees keeping an eye on Francisco Liriano

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Excuse me while I file this under most predictable trade rumor of all-time (via Bob Nightengale of USA Today):

The Yankees are keeping a close eye on Twins starter Francisco Liriano, while Twins are keeping tabs on Yanks prospects.

The trade winds began to blow earlier this month, when Joe Christensen of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune wrote that the Twins don’t plan to sign Liriano to a long-term deal and that they were open to exploring a trade. Speculation about the Yankees began almost immediately following Christensen’s report, so to hear that they have legitimate interest in the 27-year-old left-hander shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone.

While I can’t quite wrap my head around why the Twins would want to trade Liriano, who remains under team control through 2012, I wouldn’t blame them for looking for the best possible deal. Still, it would sting to see Liriano dealt to a team that has swept the Twins in consecutive postseasons.

Video: Starling Marte refuses to take first base after being hit by pitch

Tim Warner/Getty Images
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Pirates outfielder Starling Marte was hit on the hand by a Jack Flaherty pitch in the fourth inning of Tuesday night’s game against the Cardinals. Rather than take first base, Marte — who came to the plate with a runner on first base — insisted to home plate umpire Bruce Dreckman that the ball hit the knob of the bat, not his hand. Marte was allowed to continue his at-bat, though manager Clint Hurdle came out to discuss the ruling with Dreckman. Marte eventually grounded into a fielder’s choice. He then got caught attempting to steal second base and the Pirates scored zero runs in the inning.

According to Baseball Prospectus, a team that has runners on first and second with no outs is expected to score 1.55 runs. Having a runner on first base with one out yields 0.56 expected runs. Marte essentially cost his team a run by rejecting first base. Oops.