Yankees shut Michael Pineda down due to inflammation in his upper back

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More bad news for the Yankees. MLB.com’s Bryan Hoch reports that the club has shut down starter Michael Pineda after an MRI showed inflammation in his upper back. The right-hander was scheduled to throw in a live spring training game on Sunday. The Yankees can now consider themselves lucky if they are able to get Pineda back before the All-Star break.

Pineda has been on the disabled list since May 6 with a Grade 1 strain of the teres major muscle. He made four starts this season, posting a 1.83 ERA with a 15/3 K/BB ratio in 19 2/3 innings. He was ejected from his most recent start, on April 23 against the Red Sox, after he was caught with pine tar on his neck. Pineda was given a 10-game suspension for the violation.

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.