With Pirates deal pending, injury clear, cause not for pitcher Liriano

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The broken bone in left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano's right arm is the humerus, the bone in the upper arm that connects the shoulder to the bones in the forearm, the Post-Gazette has learned.

But while the nature of the injury is clearer, details about how Liriano broke his arm in December are not. The injury, which slowed Liriano's contract negotiations with the Pirates, could prevent him from pitching early in the season.

The Spanish-language newspaper El Caribe reported last week that Liriano, 29, fell in the bathroom of his home and that his arm was in a cast, but provided no other details. The report could not be independently confirmed.

Fox Sports reported Monday that the Pirates and Liriano agreed to terms on a new contract, replacing the original two-year, $12.75 million deal agreed upon in late December. Liriano fractured the arm in December before taking a physical, putting the deal on hold.

The Fox report indicated that Liriano could still earn all of the money owed him on the original contract if he does not miss any time due to the arm injury. If the fracture keeps Liriano off the mound during the 2013 season, the report said, he will earn a reduced salary.

The recovery time for fractures varies depending on the type and severity of the break. If Liriano's fracture forces him to miss time, his reduced salary will lower the Pirates' payroll. They were projected to open the season with a payroll of roughly $76 million before including Liriano's contract, $63 million or so out of their own pockets.

Liriano's absence would also create an opportunity for Jeff Locke or Kyle McPherson to open the season in the rotation, a situation that seemed less likely after the agreements with Jeff Karstens and Liriano.

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Bill Brink: bbrink@post-gazette.com and on Twitter @BrinkPG.



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