Ian Kennedy on track to return from the disabled list Saturday

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Padres right-hander Ian Kennedy landed on the disabled list after exiting his season debut on April 9 with a mild left hamstring strain, but Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports that he’s on track to return Saturday against the Dodgers.

Kennedy threw 81 pitches over six innings today in an extended spring training game and Padres manager Bud Black said he “felt good” and “had no issues with the hamstring.” He’ll rejoin the team on Tuesday to be re-evaluated, but all signs point to him being activated for his next turn. Odrisamer Despaigne has been filling in, but he’ll presumably be moved back to the bullpen.

Kennedy, 30, is coming off a decent bounceback season where he posted a 3.63 ERA with a career-high 207 strikeouts over 201 innings.

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.