Liriano holds key to Pirates’ interest in adding to rotation

This is more trade static than trade buzz: Recurring reports that the Pirates are actively shopping for starting pitching.

General managers always scour the market, and Neal Huntington is no exception. However, adding a starter is a pretty low priority now.

All you have to remember is that the Bucs had to send Brandon Cumpton back to Triple-A off his undefeated (3-0) June to make rotation room when Gerrit Cole came off the disabled list, after missing 3 1/2 weeks with shoulder fatigue.

When Francisco Liriano — already on the verge of possibly a one-and-done rehab assignment — also returns, someone else will have to exit from a rotation that has posted a 3.10 ERA for nearly a month.

Does that sound like a team in desperate need of pitching?

This can change, and Liriano is key: His comeback shoud coincide with the strech drive to the Trade Deadline. If his prospects look dim, the Pirates could look to upgrade.

Manager Cint Hurdle and Huntington may also prioritize adding a veteran with pennant race experience — and to do so be willing to part with some of the youngsters who provide the currenr depth.

Tom Singer

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