Matt Stroup

Baseball Daily Dose

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Yessir, Liriano

Wednesday, May 04, 2011

Francisco Liriano came into Tuesday's game carrying a miserable set of season stats: 9.13 ERA, 1.90 WHIP and 18/18 K/BB ratio in 23 2/3 innings. His performance was so bad, in fact, that there had been hints that he might get sent to the bullpen once Kevin Slowey (shoulder) returned to action this weekend.

So naturally, Liriano went out and no-hit the White Sox on Tuesday.

Granted, it was very far from the most beautiful no-hitter ever flung (six walks and only two strikeouts, bringing his season K/BB ratio to 20/24), but it's encouraging that this comes a few days after the Twins reportedly found a flaw with Liriano's release point.

To be clear, this doesn't guarantee that we've seen the last of his struggles, and I won't personally believe that he's back until I see that first nine- or 10- strikeout game, but there's reason to hope that the 27-year-old is ready to trend in a decidedly positive direction.

  • The Rockies placed Ty Wigginton (oblique) on the DL and recalled Ian Stewart from Triple-A, no surprise given that Stewart hit .361 with three homers and 13 RBI in 36 at-bats in the minors. Look for Stewart to start against right-handers, with the struggling Jose Lopez (.141 average) playing against lefties.

  • Josh Hamilton (humerus) will begin hitting off a tee on Wednesday, which puts him slightly ahead of schedule in his recovery. As of now, it looks like the Rangers' outfielder will be back in early June.

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  • Joe Mauer (bilateral leg weakness) is feeling stronger and is expected to resume throwing and hitting on Wednesday. This obviously qualifies as good news, but Mauer's timetable remains uncertain, with an update likely to arrive later on Wednesday.

  • B.J. Upton hit a walkoff homer off Jon Rauch on Tuesday, giving the fill-in Toronto closer his first blown save of the year. Meanwhile, Frank Francisco has allowed just two hits and one run in 5 1/3 innings since his return, and his first save chance could be coming sooner rather than later.

  • Jose Bautista underwent an MRI on his sore neck which showed no structural damage, a good indicator that the home run champ won't need a trip to the DL. However, it does appear likely that Bautista will need at least a few days off before he's ready to return.

  • Victor Martinez (groin) went 2-for-4 with a double and an RBI in his final rehab game and is set to be activated from the DL on Wednesday.

  • Jonathan Broxton was taken out of a tie game after walking two out of the three hitters he faced on Tuesday. Look for Vicente Padilla to likely get a save chance if one surfaces for the Dodgers on Wednesday.

  • Charlie Manuel said on Tuesday that Chase Utley [knee] may be ready to head to extended spring training for a rehab assignment soon, and beat writer David Hale writes that Utley is "getting close." It's all positive news, but his timetable remains uncertain and we still may not see Utley until closer to the end of the month.

  • The Giants have discussed Brandon Belt (.500 average, two homers, 11 RBI at Triple-A since his demotion) as a potential option to jumpstart their offense, but there's currently no timetable for his recall. Either way, he needs to be owned in all NL-Only leagues, and could be worth stashing in deeper mixed leagues as well.

    NL Quick Hits (pitchers): Eduardo Sanchez picked up his second save, further committee-fying the St. Louis bullpen … Mat Latos allowed two runs over six innings and became the first Padres pitcher to homer at Petco Park … Cole Hamels held the Nats to one run in a complete game win … Ubaldo Jimenez (7.20 ERA) believes he has discovered a mechanical flaw in his delivery … Johan Santana made 110 throws on flat ground Monday as he continues to target a late-June/early-July return … Johnny Cueto (triceps) is slated to rejoin the Reds on Sunday, and Mike Leake (seven earned runs in 3 2/3 innings Tuesday) appears likely to move to the bullpen upon his return … Tommy Hanson was pushed back to start the first game of a doubleheader Wednesday after Tuesday's rainout … Joe Blanton (elbow) is aiming to return when eligible next week.

    NL Quick Hits (position players): Pablo Sandoval (hand) underwent successful surgery and is expected to miss 4-6 weeks … Andre Ethier (1-for-4) extended his hitting streak to 29 games … Major signs of life from Carlos Gonzalez, who went 2-for-2 with a homer, two walks and a steal … Carlos Pena hit his first homer as a Cub … The struggling Ryan Dempster held the Dodgers to one run in seven innings … Pedro Alvarez left early with tightness in his right quad … Orlando Hudson is day-to-day with a right hamstring strain … Scott Rolen (shoulder) says he's feeling better, but won't be activated when eligible on Friday … Raul Ibanez broke an 0-for-35 by going 2-for-4 with two doubles … Willie Bloomquist (hamstring) is hoping to return when eligible on Saturday … The Mets are hopeful that Angel Pagan (oblique) will return on Saturday … Carlos Ruiz (back) is expected to return later this week … The Brewers activated Nyjer Morgan from the DL … Lucas Duda has joined the Mets while Jason Bay is on paternity leave for a couple days.

    Editor's Note: For exclusive columns, rankings, projections and more, check out Rotoworld's MLB Season Pass.

    AL Quick Hits (pitchers): Erik Bedard took a no-hitter into the sixth and ended up allowing two runs in seven innings against Texas … Fausto Carmona threw eight innings of one-run ball in a win over the A's … David Aardsma (hip) has been shut down for a few days due to forearm stiffness … Jon Lester struck out 11 in a win over the Angels … Brian Matusz (intercostal strain) will throw on the side on Wednesday as he aims for a mid-May return … Scott Feldman (knee) threw four innings in an extended spring game as he gets closer to a minor league rehab assignment.

    AL Quick Hits (position players): Shin Soo-Choo was arrested for DUI Monday but isn't expected to face additional punishment from the Indians … Evan Longoria went 1-for-4 in his return from the DL … Nelson Cruz left early due to tightness in his right quad … Travis Hafner (foot) walked as a pinch-hitter and is hoping to return to the lineup Wednesday … Franklin Gutierrez tripled in his first minor league rehab game after missing all of April with irritable bowel syndrome … Nick Markakis (knee, hand) was in the starting lineup on Tuesday, while Brian Roberts (root canal surgery) was out … Milton Bradley served a one-game suspension Tuesday … Scott Sizemore went 3-for-4 in his first game since rejoining the Tigers and is worth an immediate add in AL-Only formats … Delmon Young (ribcage) could return on the Twins' current road trip … Kevin Youkilis (illness) was a late scratch … Coco Crisp (quad) returned to the lineup … Jim Thome (oblique) was placed on the 15-day DL and replaced on the roster by Trevor Plouffe (six homers, 13 RBI at Triple-A), whose presence warrants a heads-up in AL-Only leagues … Robinson Cano (hand) returned to action Tuesday … Jacoby Ellsbury (knee) was back in the starting lineup … Aaron Hill (hamstring) will appear in an extended spring training game Wednesday in anticipation of being activated next week.

  • Matt Stroup covers basketball, baseball and football for You can find him on Twitter here .
    Email :Matt Stroup

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