Francisco Liriano cleared to begin rehab assignment

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On the disabled list with a strained oblique muscle, Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano has been cleared to begin a minor-league rehab assignment.

Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette reports that Liriano will make his first rehab start Monday at Triple-A and is scheduled for five innings and/or 85 pitches, which suggests the Pirates are planning to bring him back pretty quickly if things go well.

Liriano struggled before the injury, following up his Comeback Player of the Year-winning 2013 campaign by going 1-6 with a 4.60 ERA through 14 starts, but his strikeout rate is actually higher than last season’s mark.