UPDATE: Pittsburgh has placed Liriano on the disabled list.
Francisco Liriano’s disappointing season continued Tuesday, as the reigning Comeback Player of the Year exited his start against the Cubs in the fourth inning with an oblique injury.
No disabled list move has been made yet, but oblique strains almost always require at least a couple weeks on the sidelines and can linger much longer than that. Or as Pirates manager Clint Hurdle put it afterward when talking to Tom Singer of MLB.com: “It might be a medical record if a guy can come back in four days and pitch.”
Before leaving yesterday’s start Liriano allowed two runs in three innings, pushing his ERA to 4.60 after he went 16-8 with a 3.02 ERA and 163 strikeouts in 161 innings last year. He also allowed his eighth homer of the season after serving up a total of nine homers all of last year. And now he’s going to join rotation-mate Gerrit Cole on the DL.
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Former Angels outfielder Jabari Blash has signed a one-year deal with the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles of Nippon Professional Baseball, the team announced Friday. Per the Japan Times, the deal is said to be worth around $1.06 million. Blash was released from his contract with the Angels at the end of November.
The 29-year-old outfielder has had a rough go of it in the majors, where he failed to duplicate the promising results he delivered in the minors. While he consistently batted above .250 with 20-30 home runs per season at the Double- and Triple-A level, he petered out in back-to-back gigs with the Padres and Angels and slumped toward a .103/.200/.128 finish across 45 PA for Anaheim in 2018.
The hope, of course, is that the environment in NPB will help him get a better handle on his issues at the plate — in a best case scenario, resulting in a full-scale transformation that could make him more marketable to MLB teams in the future. To that end, Blash expects to be utilized as a cleanup batter in the Eagles’ lineup and will focus on assisting the club as they make a run toward the Japan Series.