Francisco Liriano slated to make Pirates debut Saturday

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Francisco Liriano wasn’t exactly sharp in his minor-league rehab start Sunday, allowing four runs on seven hits in five innings at Triple-A, but apparently the Pirates are convinced he’s ready to go.

Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Liriano is expected to make his Pirates debut Saturday against the Mets after missing the first six weeks of the season with a broken non-pitching arm.

Despite not being particularly sharp Sunday he’s fully stretched out, throwing 98 pitches, and Liriano was very good in his previous two Triple-A outings. Overall at Triple-A he has a 3.38 ERA and 23/1 K/BB ratio in 16 innings, so Sunday’s poor start aside he’s been pretty strong overall.

At the very least he can’t be any worse than Jonathan Sanchez.

The harrowing tale of the end of Bobby Jenks’ baseball career

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Bobby Jenks was a key part of the 2005 world champion White Sox. By 2010, his effectiveness as a closer fell off and he signed with the Boston Red Sox for the 2011 season. He’d pitch in only 19 games that year, suffer a back injury and would never pitch again.

In the year or so after that, we heard that Jenks was arrested for driving under the influence. And then we heard that his back surgery was botched, and his baseball career was over. Then, after years of silence, we learned last spring that Jenks won $5.1 million in a medical malpractice suit against the doctor who performed his surgery.

We did not, however, know all the details until Bobby Jenks wrote about them at the Players’ Tribune this morning. This is must-click link stuff, folks.

Jenks talks about how a seemingly innocuous pitch to Jorge Posada in an early-season Red Sox-Yankees game in 2011 was the last pitch he’d ever throw. He talks about the presumably simple surgery that would supposedly get him back on the field. And then the scary complications in which he almost died due to leaking spinal fluid resulting from the botched surgery. Then, after using painkillers to deal with back pain, Jenks’ fell into drug addiction, all of which culminated in him finding himself half-naked and crazed in a car that didn’t belong to him with police and rescue workers surrounding him.

Jenks got clean but his wife left him. And then he mounted a multi-year lawsuit during which he learned that the reason his back surgery was screwed up was because the surgeon was performing two surgeries at one time, which is an apparently common practice called “concurrent surgery,” that sounds like it totally should NOT be a common practice.

Yet Jenks has survived. He’s been sober for over seven years and he seems to be in a good place. But boy did he have to go through something harrowing to get there. Definitely take the time to read it.