The starting rotation for the Pittsburgh Pirates has struggled for the most part this season. However, starting pitchers Francisco Liriano and Charlie Morton are almost ready to make their 2013 Major League Baseball debuts. That means the current members of the rotation better raise their level of play if they want to remain with the team come May.
“Guys know the clock is ticking,” manager Clint Hurdle told Pirates.com. “We’ve got guys coming.”
Liriano suffered an injury to his right arm before Spring Training, which forced Pittsburgh to place him on the 15-day disabled list. The left-hander has made great strides in his rehabilitation process over the past few weeks. He will toss 65 pitches in a Double-A start on Saturday. The Pirates believe he will be ready to make his first appearance this season on May 5 against the Washington Nationals.
Meanwhile, Morton is a little behind Liriano in his rehab process, but not by much. The right-hander is projected to join the team on May 8. The 29-year-old underwent Tommy John Surgery on June 14 of last season to repair his elbow.
Pittsburgh’s starting rotation has combined for a 4-7 record with a 4.90 earned run average, 66 strikeouts, a National League-worst 35 walks and a .253 opponent batting average. However, the bullpen has been fantastic for the most part, which has kept the pitching staff above water.
Along with the starters, the offense has also been below average through the first three weeks of the season. However, the fact that the Pirates are only one game below .500 is very encouraging.