BRADENTON, FLA. -- I've returned to my spring training hangout -- the Bradenton Panera -- and they've forgotten who I am. I'm drowning my sorrows over last night's debacle with some tea.
The Pirates may be back to square one with Francisco Liriano. General manager Neal Huntington said today that the free agent lefty injured his right arm around the holidays. Huntington declined to comment on how Liriano injured his non-throwing arm and the severity of the injury.
Liriano's agent, Greg Genske, has not immediately responded to a telephone message seeking comment.
It seems unlikely that the original two-year, $12.75 million contract will go through. The Pirates and Liriano could agree to different terms, or the deal may fall apart entirely. Huntington said the Pirates have kept in touch with Genske.
If the Pirates do not sign Liriano, their rotation returns to its internal status: A.J. Burnett, Wandy Rodriguez and James McDonald will hold the top three spots. Kyle McPherson and Jeff Locke have the inside track to the final two, and Andrew Oliver, Vin Mazzaro and Zach Stewart may be in the mix.
On the other hand, the Pirates would retain the $6 million or so they would have spent on Liriano this season and may be able to fill the gap via free agency. As spring training approaches, free agent asking prices sometimes drop.
***Baseball America's Jim Callis ranked his personal top 10 farm systems in a recent Q and A, and had the Pirates ranked eighth. The Pirates ranked 11th in the 2012 organizational rankings (compiled in a group effort by Baseball America editors).
***I went dark on Twitter for a few days while leaving the beat in the capable hands of Michael Sanserino and attending the national championship game. I logged back on today to see a mass of tweets apparently campaigning for Andrew McCutchen to grace the cover. Learn more here and here.
***Right-hander Rick van den Hurk, whom the Pirates released Jan. 4, signed a one-year contract with the Samsung Lions of the Korean Baseball Association, according to a tweet from his agency, the Beverly Hills Sports Council. Van den Hurk, 27, appeared in four games in the major leagues last season for the Pirates. He had a 2.92 ERA in 21 games, 19 starts, for Class AAA Indianapolis in 2012.
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