Pitching exclusively out of the bullpen, Liriano has yet to allow an earned run in 10.1 innings through his first 11 appearances of 2019. After issuing a pair of walks and a wild pitch to three of the first four batters he faced, Liriano has crafted a 14:4 K:BB. The 34-year-old has thrown in three of the last four games, becoming one of the team's few reliable bullpen options in April. His walk rate (8.9 percent) is the lowest it's been since 2010. While he's not pitching enough to help many fantasy owners, there remains a chance he could spot-start if and when injuries strike Pittsburgh's rotation.
Liriano's contract was purchased Thursday, Bill Brink of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. This was a formality, as it was reported last week that Liriano had made the team. He will work in mid-leverage situations, getting plenty of work against left-handed hitters.
Despite an inconsistent spring, Liriano will make the team's Opening Day roster, John Perrotto of DK Pittsburgh Sports reports. With nine walks in 9.2 Grapefruit League innings, Liriano has struggled with his control. Even so, the Pirates will give the 35-year-old a chance to pitch out of the bullpen. Liriano has compiled a 5.03 ERA in 230.2 innings since 2017 and isn't expected to pitch in high leverage situations.
The Pirates are expected to inform Liriano whether he has made the Opening Day roster Saturday, DK Pittsburgh Sports reports. He's pitched progressively worse throughout the spring, allowing five runs with an 8:9 K:BB in 9.1innings. If Liriano doesn't make the team, the Pirates will likely release him because they would have to pay him a $100,000 bonus if they send him to Triple-A. Rule 5 pick Nick Burdi has outpitched Liriano and may take the final bullpen spot.
Liriano walked all four batters he faced against the Yankees on Sunday. The left-hander struggled with a 4.9 BB/9 in 133.2 innings for Detroit last season. The Pirates will likely give Liriano a longer leash than other teams, given his past success with the organization, but he'll need to throw strikes in his next couple outings.