Francisco Liriano has thrived since returning from bullpen

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Francisco Liriano had a 9.45 ERA, .346 opponents’ batting average, and 21/19 K/BB ratio in 27 innings over six starts when the Twins demoted him to the bullpen in mid-May.

He didn’t pitch particularly well in a brief stint as a reliever, but since rejoining the rotation he has a 2.67 ERA, .155 opponents’ batting average, and 35/12 K/BB ratio in 30 innings over five starts.

That includes 6.2 innings of one-run ball against the Pirates last night for his fourth Quality Start in five tries after turning in zero Quality Starts before May 30.

It’s hard to imagine the Twins re-signing the impending free agent considering what a headache he’s been, in which case Liriano has another half-dozen starts to build up trade value and continue to show that his slider remains one of the best pitches in baseball.

Astros release Jon Singleton

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The Astros have released first baseman Jon Singleton, Chandler Rome of the Houston Chronicle reports.

Singleton, 26, was suspended for 100 games after testing positive for a drug of abuse for a third time. He has had issues with marijuana in the post and admitted to being a drug addict several years ago. He said, “At this point it’s pretty evident to me that I’m a drug addict. I don’t openly tell everyone that, but it’s pretty apparent to myself. I know that I enjoy smoking weed, I enjoy being high and I can’t block that out of my mind that I enjoy that. So I have to work against that.”

Singleton played parts of two seasons in the majors in 2014-15 with the Astros, batting a combined .171/.290/.331 with 14 home runs and 50 RBI in — appropriately — 420 plate appearances. He spent 2016 with Triple-A Fresno and 2017 with Double-A Corpus Christi, putting up middling numbers.

If he can convince teams he’s still actively working to overcome his addiction, Singleton may be able to find an opportunity elsewhere. But his road back to the majors remains long. He was once a top prospect in the Phillies’ system, then was traded to the Astros in the Hunter Pence deal back in July 2011.