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Pirates activate Francisco Liriano, option Duke Welker

The veteran lefty will make his Pittsburgh debut Saturday against the Mets.

USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Pirates have activated Francisco Liriano off the disabled list, clearing room for the starter by sending Duke Welker down to Triple-A Indianapolis, the team announced Saturday.

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Liriano signed with the Pirates in the offseason, but has spent the first six weeks of the season on the DL, as he fractured his right forearm in a household accident in the off-season. Pittsburgh has been patient waiting for the lefty to return to the team, as Liriano made five rehab starts, including one on Sunday.

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle told the media that the team signed Liriano this off-season because they seem him as a potential "bounce-back" candidate this year. The organization saw similarties between Liriano and current Pittsburgh starter A.J. Burnett, who currently owns a 2.57 ERA. The Pirates also like left-handed pitchers in PNC Park, as three of the team's current starters are left-handed.

Liriano's last season as an effective pitcher came in 2010, when he posted a 3.62 ERA for the Minnesota Twins in 191.2 innings pitched. Since then, the lefty has thrown back-to-back seasons with an ERA over 5. Liriano has struggled with his command, as he walked five batters per nine innings last season.

Welker's stay at the major-league level proved brief, as the team brought him up on Wednesday. The reliever did not make an appearance with the Pirates while with the team.

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