Pirates notebook: Liriano will test groin Wednesday
BRADENTON, Fla. — The Pirates' most important game of spring training this year won't even be an actual game.
Left-hander Francisco Liriano will test his sore left groin Wednesday in either a simulated game or a minor league game at Pirate City.
Management wants Liriano to make the outing in a controlled environment. That is why he won't pitch in Wednesday's Grapefruit League game against the Minnesota Twins in Fort Myers, Fla.
If all goes well, Liriano likely will remain the Opening Day starter. If not, he could begin the season on the disabled list for the second year in a row.
“I feel good now, but we'll see what happens (Wednesday),” Liriano said Monday.
The outcome of Liriano's test run could impact other areas, too. If Liriano ends up on the DL, the starting rotation would have to be rearranged.
Manager Clint Hurdle said Monday that Liriano is scheduled to start the first and fifth games of the season. Because of the off day April 1, Liriano will pitch in two games before No. 5 starter Edinson Volquez makes his first appearance April 6 against the St. Louis Cardinals.
If Liriano is out of action, Jeff Locke might be able to replace him.
Locke has recovered from an oblique injury and is a candidate to stay in Florida in extended spring training to get stretched out to 100 pitches. The left-hander is scheduled to work three innings (50 pitches maximum) Tuesday in a minor league game.
If Liriano is healthy for Opening Day, there is no room for Locke in the rotation. He has one minor league option left, so Locke could be sent to Triple-A.
Jon Morosi of Fox Sports reported Monday the Pirates have talked with Arizona about a possible trade for shortstop Didi Gregorius. After losing Patrick Corbin to a season-ending injury, the Diamondbacks are seeking a major league-ready starting pitcher. Locke could be a fit — if Liriano is healthy.
So a lot hinges on what happens when Liriano takes the mound at Pirate City.
“Wednesday is going to be a day when I think everything might clear up,” Hurdle said.
Marte contact talks
An industry source told the Tribune-Review that the Pirates and outfielder Starling Marte are “still far apart” on terms for a possible contract extension, but there is reason for optimism because the sides will continue to negotiate.
The source confirmed Marte recently turned down an offer for a six-year deal, which would buy out his first two years of free agency, as was first reported Monday by Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com.
Monday's game against the Detroit Tigers was rained out. Left-hander Wandy Rodriguez, who was supposed to start, will instead pitch Tuesday against the Toronto Blue Jays. Mark Melancon and Justin Wilson also are scheduled to pitch.
In memory of Hall of Famer Ralph Kiner, who died in February, the Pirates will wear a No. 4 patch on their uniforms this season.
“We are humbled to honor one of the game's greatest power hitters by wearing Ralph's number on our sleeve,” Pirates president Frank Coonelly said.
The Pirates retired Kiner's number in 1987 and display a sculpture of his hands and bat in the left-field rotunda at PNC Park.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.