Francisco Liriano named Opening Day starter by the Pirates

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Francisco Liriano, who re-signed with the Pirates for three years and $39 million this offseason, has been named the team’s Opening Day starter for the second straight season.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle also announced that Gerrit Cole and A.J. Burnett will follow him in the rotation. Charlie Morton and either Vance Worley or Jeff Locke will grab the other two spots.

Liriano got off to a poor start last year, but then posted a 2.20 ERA with 94 strikeouts in 86 innings after the All-Star break.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.