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Liriano will return to rotation for series vs. Reds

Liriano will return to rotation for series vs. Reds

ST. LOUIS -- Left-hander Francisco Liriano was back in the clubhouse on Tuesday, one day after a convincing rehab start in Triple-A Indianapolis, and therefore will be back in the rotation this weekend.

Manager Clint Hurdle announced following a brief meeting in his office with Liriano that the team will "get him in the rotation; he'll probably pitch before the [All-Star] break."

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Liriano went on the disabled list with a strained left oblique on June 11, and his sharp six innings with the Indians -- no runs, three hits, eight strikeouts, no walks -- persuaded all involved that no further prep time is needed.

"The report I got from [Indianapolis pitching coach Tom Filer] was, he got sharper as the game went on," Hurdle said. "The fastball velocity was good -- 91 to 95 -- and the change and breaking balls played. No more rehab starts."

The Pirates will wrap up first-half play with a weekend series in Cincinnati. Liriano could face the Reds on Saturday on his regular four days' rest, or on Sunday with an extra day between starts.

His return would mean a skipped start for either Charlie Morton or Vance Worley, who faced the Cardinals in the first two games of the series at Busch Stadium. Hurdle planned to huddle with general Neal Huntington before deciding when Liriano will get the ball.

Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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