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Pirates notebook: Injury to side hastens Liriano's exit

| Tuesday, June 10, 2014, 7:36 p.m.
Pirates trainer Todd Tomczyk tends to pitcher Francisco Liriano after he was injured during a game against the Cubs on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, at PNC Park.
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
Pirates trainer Todd Tomczyk tends to pitcher Francisco Liriano after he was injured during a game against the Cubs on Tuesday, June 10, 2014, at PNC Park.

The Pirates' inconsistent and injury-riddled starting rotation might be facing another challenge.

Left-hander Francisco Liriano left his start Tuesday in the fourth inning because of a left oblique strain, manager Clint Hurdle said.

The left-hander will have an MRI on Wednesday, but a move appears likely. Fellow starter Gerrit Cole went on the disabled list Sunday with shoulder fatigue.

“I'm not a doctor, but a left oblique strain, it might be a medical record if a guy can come back in four days and pitch,” Hurdle said. “We'll make a better decision (Wednesday). I think we owe it to the player to see how he feels when he comes in, but I think we need to at least have a plan B.”

After making a making a pitch to Chicago Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo to begin the fourth, Liriano appeared to favor his hip or lower back. He was attended to by Pirates trainers. Liriano attempted stretching and firing several warm-up tosses before being removed from the game.

He said he felt a pinch and that it still was sore after the game.

“I thought it was a cramp,” Liriano said. “I tried to walk around, but it didn't go away so we'll see (Wednesday) what it is.”

In three innings, Liriano, who is 1-6 this season, allowed three hits and two runs and struck out four.

“Everything was smooth and running the two innings after the changeup (to Rizzo in the first inning that was) hit out of the ballpark,” Hurdle said. “Quick, efficient, fastball velocity, spin, down, then (he) threw the one pitch and kind of coiled out of it.”

Tucker coming to ‘Burgh

Pirates top draft pick Cole Tucker will be in Pittsburgh this week to undergo a physical.

The exam is the final requirement before a contract agreement becomes official.

A source familiar with the negotiations said Tucker, the Pirates' first-round pick (24th overall) in last week's draft, has a physical scheduled for Thursday.

“I'm going to Pittsburgh tomorrow,” Tucker tweeted. And, later, “Last night in Arizona and I wanna see everyone. Come by my house tonight to say bye and hang out for awhile.”

Harrison breaks out gloves

A No. 25 jersey hung in the stall next to Josh Harrison's on Tuesday, and Harrison is well aware what the arrival of his new clubhouse neighbor means.

Before Tuesday's game, Harrison revealed what rested in the back of his locker: a number of different fielding gloves, some smaller for infield play, others larger for outfield play.

With the franchise's right fielder of the future now the right fielder of the present, Harrison — the team's temporary but effective right fielder — will be moving all over the diamond.

“I have maybe four or five infielder gloves and two outfield gloves,” Harrison said. “I have all my gloves ready. I'll be ready for whatever. ... I've done it before.”

Harrison was in the lineup at third base Tuesday night and batted leadoff. But with Neil Walker placed on the 15-day disabled list because of his appendectomy Monday, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said Harrison will receive the lion's share of playing time at second base.

Walker misses Polanco, Pirates missing Walker

Pirates shortstop Jordy Mercer said the team knew Walker was not feeling well Monday but had no idea of the severity of his problem.

“We got an update (Tuesday),” Mercer said. “They said he's doing good and he's bummed about missing Polanco's call-up.”

Walker posted a picture of himself recovering on a hospital bed Tuesday on Twitter. Wrote Walker: “Thank you all for the well wishes. I'll be back soon! Ticked I won't see Polanco debut in person.”

Hurdle did not have a timetable for Walker's recovery. Cardinals outfielder Matt Holliday returned nine days after an appendectomy in 2011.

“It's going to test him mentally,” Hurdle said. “He's been an anchor in the lineup.”

Cole update

Gerrit Cole (shoulder fatigue) made 25 throws from flat ground Monday, but the Pirates did not offer a plan for his next step Tuesday.

“Everything went well (Monday),” Hurdle said. “We were going to wait and see how he feels (Tuesday) before mapping out the next step.”

Karen Price and Travis Sawchik are staff writers for Trib Total Media. Reach them at or tsawchik

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