TORONTO -- Tests results on Saturday revealed that Blue Jays left-hander Francisco Liriano has a concussion, and he will miss at least seven days per Major League Baseball rules.
As a result of the concussion, MLB approved a roster substitution, with right-hander Danny Barnes taking Liriano's spot on the American League Division Series roster. Liriano is eligible to return during the AL Championship Series, should the Blue Jays advance to the next round. Game 3 of the ALDS is at Rogers Centre tonight at 7:30 ET/6:30 CT on TBS in the United States and in Spanish on MLB Network. The game will be televised by Sportsnet (English) and TVA (French) in Canada.
Liriano sustained the concussion when he was struck in the back of the head/neck area by a line drive off the bat of Rangers outfielder Carlos Gomez during Friday's 5-3 victory in Game 2. He was taken to a local hospital for further evaluation -- and the good news is, there was no skull fracture.
"All of the tests today were all normal, it was great," Blue Jays trainer George Poulis said on Saturday afternoon. "We're very excited how [Liriano] felt today, and so is he. ... Any player that has a mild concussion, or any kind of head trauma, we test those guys every single day and we monitor them.
"Once they meet the MLB regulations, then we take them through a series of exertional tests -- make sure that they feel good, no return of symptoms and then they're good to go. Right now, there is no timetable for his return. But hopefully it's shorter, based on his exam today. It's good news."
Liriano is scheduled to be examined again on Sunday, and once those tests are OK, he will advance to the exertion drills. That involves activities such as riding a stationary bike, running and throwing -- while the club monitors his health for the possible return of concussion symptoms.
Postseason rules stipulate that teams may request permission from the Commissioner's Office to replace a player who is unable to play because of an injury. Normally that player would become ineligible for the next round of the postseason, but exceptions can be made for players who suffered an acute concussion.
Players with concussions are allowed to return during the following series provided they have been out for at least seven days. Liriano would be eligible to return to the Blue Jays' 25-man roster on Oct. 15, which is the date of Game 2 of the ALCS. Prior to returning, MLB's medical director must review a return to play form and approve the reinstatement.
Barnes has been picked as the replacement after he spent most of the year in Triple-A Buffalo. The 26-year-old made his Major League debut in early August and later rejoined the Blue Jays as a September callup. Barnes made 12 appearances out of the bullpen and posted a 3.95 ERA over 13 2/3 innings.
"Everything that we're doing now, all meets the requirements of the MLB concussion program," Poulis said. "We're going through all of those steps, right now, and that's when we'll have a clearer picture on when he can come back. Right now, I cannot tell you [when that will be]. ... Our doctors have to sign off, MLB goes through all of our paperwork and signs off, as well."
According to Statcast™, Gomez's line drive had an exit velocity of 102 mph. Liriano remained on his feet, but the club was concerned about his well-being and, as a result, sent him to the hospital in an ambulance. He was later cleared to travel with the team to Toronto, and was at Rogers Centre on Saturday afternoon but was not made available to the media for comment.
Gomez was visibly concerned on the field after Liriano was struck by the liner. He called Liriano his best friend and said the two spoke on the phone Friday night.
"I talked to him last night and everything was good, so I slept better knowing he didn't have any problem," Gomez said Saturday afternoon. "We're like family. I played two years with him in Minnesota [in 2008-09] and we have a really tight relationship. ... I called him before the flight and again when we landed here. We might have some dinner here."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.