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Tuesday, December 6, 2022

Francisco Liriano Will Start Sunday, Vance Worley to Bullpen

The Pittsburgh Pirates announced that Francisco Liriano will return to the team on Sunday to start the last game before the All-Star break against the Cincinnati Reds. Liriano threw six shutout innings on Monday down in AAA. He last started for the Pirates on June 10th, giving up two runs over three innings before leaving the game with an oblique injury.

This season, he has a 4.60 ERA in 72.1 innings over 14 starts. Liriano has 77 strikeouts and a 1.45 WHIP. He has a misleading 1-6 record this year, as the Pirates are 7-7 in his starts, though he obviously hasn’t pitched as well as last year.

With Liriano returning, Vance Worley will head on down to the bullpen. He has made five starts for the Pirates, posting a 3.03 ERA, with a 1.07 WHIP and a 5/21 BB/SO ratio in 32.2 innings.

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John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.


Pirates Prospects has been independently owned and operated since 2009, entirely due to the support of our readers. The site is now completely free, funded entirely by user support. By supporting the site, you are supporting independent writers, one of the best Pittsburgh Pirates communities online, and our mission for the most complete Pirates coverage available.

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The fact is, the Pirates aren’t putting their BEST team on the field. There is simply NO benefit in keeping Frieri out there to BLOW games even if you think that you can FIX him. At this point in the season, sometimes the bullpen has to WIN you a game…not just LOSE one. This is even MORE important in a tight division race. For the MOST part, they’ve have been remarkably consistent in their starting pitching. In the last couple of weeks,their HITTING has been reasonably adequate..not stellar, but adequate. The BIG bugaboo has been the BULLPEN. Nearly every time that it has had a chance to KILL the team…it has. The Pirates need to take a page out of the A’s manual and make a HARD decision to get BETTER. I am not talking about making big trades or trading away young talent. I am talking about doing WHATEVER you have to do to solidify the pen. If Vin Mazzaro is a BETTER option than someone already in the bullpen..,.then BRING him up. If you cannot TRUST Frieri to NOT hurt you in high leverage situations, then RISK sending him to the minors. Again, at this point in the season, WHAT are they SAVING for? Bullpen arms are generally interchangeable. The Pirates handling of people in their pen is akin to a 95 year old man saving for a rainy day. Not only does it makes no sense. .It FEELS like political drama…in a BAD way.


the BULLPEN really hasn’t been that bad. i think a lot of the bullpen-bad-taste that we all have is leftover from Grill’s blown saves.

Jeanmar’s been good. Pimentel’s been fine. Hughes good. Melancon fantastic (i still don’t understand where the narrative that Melancon is an inadequate closer is coming from. i like tony watson too but Melancon is fine there.). TOny watson is fantastic. Justin Wilson meh.

I still see a good BULLPEN that i TRUST. we are just OVERREACTING because Frieri and Wilson gave up 1 homer each that just happened to be in tie games in the 9th inning.

You’re getting worked up because Wilson and Frieri were in those games instead of Vin Mazzaro? come on.


No Jaygray007, I am getting worked up (not really) because the bullpen has 14 blown saves in 41 opportunities. Sure the Mets have more at 15 and Houston has even more at 16, Look at where they are in the standings of their perspective divisions.. If the Pirates had converted even HALF of those opportunities, they would be in first place.. We are not even talking about games where they were tied in late innings games leading to losses (like in St Louis). Jim Leyland used to say, “Every team is going to WIN a 3rd of their games…every team is going to LOSE a 3rd of their games…it’s what you do with the REMAINING 3rd that determines if you’re a winner”. If the Pirates want to be winners in the end, in a tight division no less…they CANNOT afford to GIVE games away. This year, the bullpen has been largely the teams achilles heel. Last year it was a strength. It’s not a matter of semantics or histrionics…the empirical numbers bear this out.


I think this the right move and I think Vance can help us out of the bullpen. John, do you think it’s possible they DFA Frieri this weekend when they activate Franky? I have a feeling we could see that or a mysterious injury to Frieri with a DL stint.

Timothy Wolfe

I would hope the latter- it would allow him to unplug, then go on a rehab to try to get some regular work with no pressure. We shall see. Frieri just cannot be called upon right now, way way worse than Grilli, who is pitching perfectly fine with the angels


Yes, I wasn’t a fan of the trade. People here said that you can’t trust a reliever’s ERA, but sometimes I guess you can. I wonder if the Angel’s GM called “no take backs”.

Scott Kliesen

And who in the bullpen is going to be sent down? Pimentel?

R Edwards

Frieri should be offered to go to Indy – if he refuses, DFA him and move on.


I don’t think the Pirates can do that. Only way they can get him to the Minors is if he clears waivers, then they can offered to send him to the minors. My guess would be that because of his age and “years of control”, he would not make it through waivers (and the upside that people keep saying he has that we haven’t seen). Then again, he is eligible for arbitration this year, so the Pirates may just DFA him as he is a probable no sign over the winter. Then again, I have been wrong before….

R Edwards

I would just let him go through waivers – he is of little value to the team now, so if he gets claimed its no great loss. Your other options are to try to sneak Pimentel or Gomez through waivers.

Timothy Wolfe

You really don’t understand the concept of options and waivers do you?

R Edwards

I am well aware of the concepts of options and waivers. I just don’t find relevant in regards to Frieri. I am aware he probably doesn’t have options. So if they can’t send him down to Indy, they can let him go. No loss if some one claims him. He is useless.

Monsoon Harvard

Either Cumpton will go down or Frieri will get DFA’d.


Perhaps it might be Wilson. He still has options, and his performance has been up and down all year. And I still think he would be a great starter 🙂


No options for Stolmy.

Scott Kliesen

My bad. Thought he had one left. I wouldn’t be surprised to see Cumpton go down w AS break next week.



Timothy Wolfe

Trade him, who cares. We can’t have Stolmy, and worley as long guys with Frieri out there. We literally have no options in close games when we aren’t ahead

Timothy Wolfe

I think it’s more likely Martinez gets sent down and we don’t remove anyone

Monsoon Harvard

They won’t leave Mercer without a backup as long as Harrison is playing other positions or being used to pinch hit. If Martinez goes down, Dean Anna will come up.

Timothy Wolfe

Its pretty damn easy to shift Harrison to short from whatever position he is playing in a pinch and put another outfielder/pedro/walker into the game.

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