Henderson Alvarez to be activated from disabled list Sunday

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Marlins right-hander Henderson Alvarez went down last month with shoulder inflammation, but Manny Navarro of the Miami Herald reports that he’ll be activated from the disabled list to make his return Sunday against the Braves.

Alvarez was Miami’s Opening Day starter this season and allowed six runs in 12 innings over his first two starts prior to being placed on the disabled list. There were some concerns about his elbow in addition to his shoulder, but fortunately for the Marlins, the issue turned out to be minor. The 25-year-old was cleared to return after striking out five batters over six scoreless innings Tuesday in his lone minor league rehab start with High-A Jupiter.

Tom Koehler has been serving as the team’s fifth starter, but Alvarez’s return is expected to push him into a bullpen role.

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.