For the third straight season the Pirates will go with left-hander Francisco Liriano as their Opening Day starter, which is noteworthy because it means right-hander Gerrit Cole will not get the Opening Day nod following a season in which he finished fourth in the Cy Young balloting.
However, with Cole recovering from an offseason rib cage injury the Pirates don’t want to rush his timetable and manager Clint Hurdle told Stephen Nesbitt of the Pittsburgh Post Gazette that “it wouldn’t be fair to him to try and push that deadline date on him.”
Cole has yet to make his spring training debut, but the Pirates are hoping he’ll be stretched out to around the 100-pitch mark shortly after Opening Day. And of course Liriano is certainly deserving too. He has a 3.26 ERA with 543 strikeouts in 510 innings since signing with the Pirates in 2013, including a 3.38 ERA and 205 strikeouts in 187 innings last season.
Braves minor league first baseman Braxton Davidson played the hero during the Arizona Fall League Championship Game on Saturday, but followed up his game-winning homer with what appeared to be a broken left foot.
Braxton had just lofted a 2-1 pitch from Nationals left-hander Taylor Guilbeau in the bottom of the 10th inning and was making his way around the bases when he started hopping on his right foot as he neared the plate. After being helped off the field, that the infielder was quickly taken to a local hospital for further examination, the results of which have yet to be made public.
The 22-year-old helped lift the Peoria Javelinas to their fifth AFL title and second since 2017. He went 2-for-5 with a single and home run in Saturday’s finale over the Salt River Rafters. During the regular season, he completed his third consecutive campaign in High-A and slashed .171/.281/.365 with a career-high 20 home runs and a .646 OPS through 481 plate appearances.