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Walker in, Liriano out as Phillies cut down roster before season opener


Two former Pittsburgh Pirates received differing news as the Philadelphia Phillies bring the active roster to 30 players ahead of this upcoming Friday’s season opener.

Citizens Bank Park has been home to the Phillies since 2004. (Photo by Andy Lewis/Icon Sportswire)

According to Todd Zolecki of MLB.com, infielder Neil Walker will make the Opening Day roster for the Phillies. His former Pirates’ teammate, left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano, will not be making the team and is being released.

Walker had been a productive offensive second baseman early in his career in Pittsburgh. Walker, now 34, has played more first base than second in the last two seasons. Still, he is an infield option for the Phillies who can hit from both sides of the plate. He spent last season with the Miami Marlins, posting a .738 OPS in 115 games.

Liriano was a successful starting pitcher for the Pirates and Minnesota Twins for several years earlier in his career. Last year, he returned to Pittsburgh and found new success in the bullpen. He had a 3.47 ERA in 69 games in 2019.

However, the Phillies already had left-handed bullpen options in Adam Morgan and José Álvarez, as well as Ranger Suárez when he returns from the COVID-19 injured list. Additionally, the team has a few lefties that have not yet pitched in the majors, such as Garrett Cleavinger and Damon Jones, that it could look to in relief.

Zolecki also reported that the Phillies have sent right-handed reliever Víctor Arano to Triple-A, and taken minor-league catcher Henri Lartigue off the 60-man player pool.

The Phillies released infielder Logan Forsythe earlier today.

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