Lefty was replaced on Blue Jays' ALDS roster Saturday after Game 2 concussion
By Alykhan Ravjiani
TORONTO -- Francisco Liriano was not on hand to see the Blue Jays punch their ticket to the American League Championship Series with a 7-6 walk-off win over the Rangers in 10 innings in Game 3 of the AL Division Series on Sunday.
Liriano, who suffered a concussion after being struck in the back of the head/neck by Carlos Gomez's line drive in Game 2, arrived at the ballpark prior to Sunday's game and "didn't feel particularly great," so he went home.
As a result of the concussion, MLB approved a roster move on Saturday, with right-hander Danny Barnes taking Liriano's spot. Rosters are reset for every postseason series and players with concussions are allowed to return during the following series, provided they have been out for a minimum of seven days. Liriano could be eligible to return as soon as Game 2 of the ALCS.
The Blue Jays will play Game 1 on Friday night in Boston or Cleveland (time TBD). The ALCS will be broadcast on TBS, as well as Sportsnet and RDS (in French) in Canada.
"The way they structure everything with the protocol, he's got to turn through a series of tests," said Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. "So he wouldn't have been eligible really until Wednesday anyway."
Liriano played an integral role in Toronto's rotation after arriving in a midseason trade with Pittsburgh, and he was expected to be a key late-inning contributor out of the bullpen in the postseason.
For now, those plans are on hold. Liriano's injury in the eighth inning of Game 2 forced Gibbons to use closer Roberto Osuna for a five-out save, and the Blue Jays are hoping to avoid a similar situation for the remainder of the ALDS.
"At the end of the year, we didn't have many off-days to let our relievers catch their breath," Gibbons said. "You can't go with two-inning saves from here on out every night. It would be an injustice."
With Toronto, Liriano pitched to a 2.92 ERA in 49 2/3 innings. Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup remain as left-handed options in the Blue Jays' bullpen.
Alykhan Ravjiani is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.