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MLB notebook: Pirates still interested in Liriano

| Friday, Feb. 1, 2013, 8:42 p.m.

As the Pirates slog through an on-again, off-again courtship of free-agent pitcher Francisco Liriano, general manager Neal Huntington was noncommittal Friday about the likelihood of reaching a deal before the start of spring training.

“The process continues,” Huntington said. “We have ongoing conversations. I'm not an oddsmaker, so I don't know if it is likely or unlikely that we will add another pitcher.”

Huntington refused to comment further.

The sides agreed in mid-December on a two-year deal, but the Pirates backed away after Liriano broke his upper right (non-pitching) arm at his home in the Dominican Republic before the contract was finalized.

The injury makes it unlikely Liriano would be ready for the start of spring training — pitchers and catchers report Feb. 11 — or even by the April 1 season opener.

The Pirates still want to add Liriano, but they would prefer to restructure the deal. Yahoo! Sports reported Friday that the Pirates want to sign Liriano to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training instead of giving him a major league deal with a guaranteed salary.

Liriano reportedly wants at least a one-year big league contract with an option for 2014.

Huntington declined to comment on the report. Liriano's agent, Greg Genske, did not return a phone call.

Around the horn

The Red Sox signed former Pirates first baseman Lyle Overbay to a minor league contract, according to an official with knowledge of the deal. If he makes the Boston roster out of spring training, Overbay would share duties with Mike Napoli. Overbay is a career .270 hitter with 133 homers and 581 RBIs. ... The Mets agreed to a minor league contract with outfielder Marlon Byrd, who served a 50-game suspension last season after testing positive for a performance-enhancing drug while a free agent. Byrd, 35, an NL All-Star in 2010, hit .210 in 47 games for Boston and Chicago last season. ... Travis Hafner and the Yankees agreed to a $2 million, one-year contract. Limited by injuries the past five seasons, the 35-year-old gives the Yankees a designated hitter with power potential from the left side.

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