Liriano on target for Tuesday start

Lefty 'feels normal' after sitting out with tight hamstring

Liriano on target for Tuesday start

PITTSBURGH -- Francisco Liriano is ready to rejoin the Pirates rotation.

After throwing a bullpen session Saturday afternoon at PNC Park, Liriano said he will start for the Pirates on Tuesday at Petco Park, pitching the opener of Pittsburgh's three-game series in San Diego.

Liriano was scratched from his scheduled start Wednesday due to a tight right hamstring.

"Everything feels normal," Liriano said. "Ready to go on Tuesday. Everything went well today."

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle agreed that Liriano's bullpen session went well but said the club will check on Liriano's status Sunday morning before officially setting their rotation for their series against the Padres. 

Liriano has made two starts this season. He threw six scoreless innings and struck out 10 batters in an Opening Day win over the Cardinals. On April 8, he struggled with his command and allowed three runs on five hits and four walks in five innings.

Vogelsong solid in spot start

His hamstring tightened up during the last few pitches of his between-starts bullpen session in Cincinnati. The team announced after Tuesday's game that Ryan Vogelsong would start Wednesday in Liriano's place, and the veteran right-hander delivered five strong innings.

"We decided not to throw because it felt way too tight. We didn't want to rush," Liriano said. "Now everything feels good, and we're ready to go."

Relieved that his minor injury didn't turn out to be anything more serious, Liriano is eager to get back on the mound. Between Juan Nicasio's three-inning start in Detroit and Vogelsong's short-notice start Wednesday, the Pirates' bullpen has been forced to work overtime, and the performance has suffered as a result.

The Pirates lost four straight games from Tuesday through Friday. During that stretch, their relievers allowed 20 runs on 25 hits and five home runs in 16 1/3 innings.

Getting Liriano back in the mix, which would presumably push Vogelsong back into the bullpen, should help solve some of those problems.

"Just ready to go on Tuesday, go out there and try to go as deep as I can in the game," Liriano said. "Execute pitches and we'll go from there."

Adam Berry is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.