Jeff Karstens scratched Sunday due to shoulder discomfort

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Some bad news this morning out of Pirates camp.

According to beat writer Michael Sanserino of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, right-handed starter Jeff Karstens has been scratched from his scheduled Grapefruit League outing Sunday against the Orioles because of “continuing shoulder discomfort.”

Karstens reported feeling soreness in his right shoulder on February 19 — after one of his first throwing sessions of the spring. It was manageable for a while but is now causing him great discomfort. He will open the 2013 regular season on the 15-day disabled list, without a mapped-out return timetable.

Karstens posted a 3.97 ERA and 1.15 WHIP in 90 2/3 innings last season while fighting hip and shoulder injuries. Jeff Locke, Jonathan Sanchez, Kyle McPherson and Jeanmar Gomez are fighting for his spot.

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.