And the hits keep on coming: Twins scratch Francisco Liriano due to sore shoulder

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After blowing a 5-0 lead and losing to the Angels 6-5 on Friday, the Twins had more bad news for their fans, announcing that Francisco Liriano would be scratched from his scheduled start Saturday due to a sore shoulder.

Anthony Swarzak will take his place.

Liriano, who pitched a no-hitter against the White Sox earlier this month, is just 3-5 with a 5.73 ERA this season, though he has turned in quality starts three of his last four times out.  Manager Ron Gardenhire said he hopes Liriano will just miss the one start.

Swarzak lost his one start for the Twins this year, giving up five runs in 5 1/3 innings against the Rays last month.  He’s 3-9 with a 6.41 ERA lifetime in 13 starts and two relief appearances for Minnesota.

If Liriano lands on the DL, it will be for the first time since Aug. 2009.  He missed three weeks then with left arm fatigue.  Previously, he sat out the entire 2007 season following Tommy John surgery.

Phillies, RHP Taijuan Walker reportedly agree to 4-year deal

Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
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SAN DIEGO – The active Philadelphia Phillies added Taijuan Walker to their rotation on Tuesday, agreeing to a $72 million, four-year contract with the right-hander.

A person familiar with the negotiations confirmed the move to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because it was pending a physical.

It was the second major free-agent score for the Phillies at the winter meetings after they reeled in shortstop Trea Turner on Monday with a $300 million, 11-year deal. Walker and Turner join a Phillies team that made it to the World Series this year before losing to the Houston Astros.

The 30-year-old Walker went 12-5 with a 3.49 ERA in 29 starts this season for the New York Mets, one of Philadelphia’s biggest NL East rivals. He slots into a rotation fronted by Zack Wheeler and Aaron Nola.

The Phillies recently lost pitcher Zach Eflin in free agency to Tampa Bay.

Asked about the market for Walker earlier in the day, agent Scott Boras said it was robust.

“As you can see in the marketplace, there’s a whole number of pitchers that are throwing 60 and 70 innings that have been pursued, probably with the exception of (Jacob) deGrom, at the lower end of threshold around $13-15 million a year because the demand for quality pitching is so great,” Boras said.

“So, Tai … is one of the younger ones, one of the more durable ones and we expect him to be pursued greatly as his market unfolds.”

Walker was selected by Seattle with the No. 43 pick in the 2010 amateur draft. He made his big league debut with the Mariners in 2013.

Walker signed with New York as a free agent in February 2021. He turned down a $7.5 million player option last month in favor of a $3 million buyout, making his deal worth $17 million over two seasons.

The 6-foot-4 Walker made the All-Star team for the first time in 2021, putting together a fast start before fading to a 7-11 record with a 4.47 ERA in 30 games, 29 starts.