Liriano passes physical, signs with Pirates

| Friday, Feb. 8, 2013, 4:37 p.m.

Left-handed starting pitcher Francisco Liriano passed a physical and signed a one-year, $1 million contract with the Pirates on Friday, an industry source said.

The move comes six weeks after he and the team had agreed to a two-year, $12.75 million deal that was nixed because Liriano broke his right arm prior to completing a physical.

Liriano is expected to join the Pirates in Bradenton, Fla., for spring training, which opens Monday when pitchers and catchers report. But general manager Neal Huntington said Francisco's status is “to be determined.”

“Our primary focus is the continued healing and rehabilitation of his injured right arm, and we will progress as the healing and rehabilitation allows,” he said. “While we have a rehabilitation and tentative return-to-pitch program in place and we look forward to getting Francisco back into competition as quickly as is feasible, medical issues are gray areas.”

Liriano could make an additional $3.75 million this season based on incentives tied to the number of days he is not on the disabled list as a result of the injury, a source said. The club has an option for 2014 worth up to $8 million.

Huntington said they worked with Liriano's agents to find “common financial ground, given the injury” and that the Pirates' risk has been mitigated by altering the total guaranteed dollars.

Liriano, 29, is coming off a season in which he went 6-12 with a 5.34 ERA in 34 games (28 starts) between Minnesota and the Chicago White Sox. He struck out 167 and walked 87 in 156 23 innings.

Liriano will join right-handers A.J. Burnett, James McDonald and Jeff Karstens, whom the Pirates re-signed after the Liriano deal was put on hold, and fellow lefty Wandy Rodriguez.

Right-hander Kyle McPherson and lefty Jeff Locke are favorites to compete for a spot during spring training, and right-hander Charlie Morton may be ready to return from Tommy John surgery as early as June.

The Pirates outrighted right-handed pitcher Vin Mazzaro to Triple-A to make room on the 40-man roster, but he will come to spring training to compete for a spot in the bullpen, Huntington said.

Karen Price is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. Reach her at or via Twitter @KarenPrice_Trib

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