Veteran reliever Frank Francisco is back in the majors, as the White Sox have called up the 34-year-old right-hander from Triple-A.
Francisco missed most of last season with an elbow injury as part of a disappointing two-year run as the Mets’ closer in which he saved 24 games with a 5.36 ERA while being paid $12.5 million.
He signed a minor-league deal with the White Sox in mid-April and tossed eight scoreless innings at Triple-A to get the call-up. Prior to struggling with the Mets he was a very solid late-inning reliever for the Rangers and Blue Jays, so if healthy it wouldn’t be surprising to see him fare well in a middle relief role.
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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.