Pirates to get Francisco Liriano back before All-Star break

Francisco Liriano will return to the mound for Pittsburgh this weekend.
Francisco Liriano will return to the mound for Pittsburgh this weekend. (USATSI)

Axisa: Liriano the NL Central pick for most important player moving forward

The Pirates are about to get back a key piece of the equation as they eye the second half of the season. Opening day starting pitcher Francisco Liriano will return to the rotation prior to the All-Star break, manager Clint Hurdle told reporters Tuesday (via Bill Brink).

It hasn't yet been decided which game Liriano will return, but it'll come against the Reds during the weekend. Liriano made a rehab start Monday for Triple-A Indianapolis, in which he threw six shutout innings while striking out eight and allowing only three hits without issuing a walk. Normal rest would put Liriano in line for Saturday's start.

Liriano, 30, is just 1-6 with a 4.60 ERA (77 ERA+), 1.45 WHIP and 77 strikeouts in 72 1/3 innings on the season. He's been out since early June with an oblique injury.

The Pirates came into Tuesday 47-42, right in the thick of NL playoff contention. Considering how well Liriano threw for several stretches last season, he could provide a major boost.

CBS Sports Writer

Matt Snyder has been a baseball writer with CBS Sports since 2011. A member of the BBWAA, he's now covered the last five World Series beginning with the epic 2011 Fall Classic. The former Indiana University... Full Bio

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