The 32-year-old was one of the lone bright spots in an otherwise disappointing loss to New York as he tossed two scoreless innings and struck out three while allowing just one hit. The plan was to use him for even longer, but the minor back issue stopped that from happening.
"It's just a little tight and that's why I came out," Liriano said through an interpreter. "Being in the bullpen, I'm not exactly used to it yet. So it's just a little tight, but it's nothing serious."
Liriano began his tenure in Toronto as a starter, but the club announced last week he was temporarily moving to the bullpen. That likely would be his role if the Blue Jays make the postseason, and while he's going to start again at some point this year, the move was made to abandon the six-man rotation because of two off-days in a span of a week.
Prior to his relief appearance against the Rays on Friday night, Liriano had not pitched out of the bullpen since 2012. It not only requires an adjustment in his role but also how he gets ready for each outing, and that appears to be what caused the back issue.
"Shoot, I thought he was great," Blue Jays manager John Gibbons said of Liriano's latest outing. "He was down in the strike zone, throwing strikes. The other night he came in and that was his first go-around, and he really had trouble with the strike zone. Shoot, today he was really, really good. His ball is as lively as any baseball you're going to find. It goes both ways, great changeup, he's got some dynamite stuff."
Blue Jays complete September callups
The Blue Jays are set to recall relievers Bo Schultz and Aaron Loup from Triple-A Buffalo prior to Tuesday night's game against the Yankees. They will be the final additions to the roster for the duration of the regular season barring injuries.
Schultz and Loup each made multiple trips between Triple-A and the Major Leagues this season. Schultz allowed six runs over 13 innings, while Loup was tagged for eight runs over 9 2/3 innings out of the 'pen. The addition of the two arms means Toronto is currently using a 12-man bullpen.
Some of the notable omissions from the list of September callups include designated hitter Jesus Montero, first baseman Chris Colabello, lefty Chad Girodo and outfielder Quintin Berry. Montero did not have a clear path to playing time despite a strong season in the Minors, and Colabello struggled with the bat in his return from an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance.
Berry was a possibility to be added to the roster as a pinch-running specialist, but that role will be filled this month by prospect Dalton Pompey. Girodo had a shot to audition for a spot in the bullpen, but the club has three other left-handed relievers -- Brett Cecil, Matt Dermody and Loup -- it will use instead.