NEW YORK – A bout of back stiffness forced Francisco Liriano to exit Monday’s 5-3 loss to the New York Yankees after two innings of work, but the Toronto Blue Jays left-hander insists it’s a matter of little concern.
Working out of the bullpen for the second time this season, Liriano took over from R.A. Dickey in the fifth and allowed just one hit while striking out three batters before leaving the game.
“It’s just a little tight, that’s what I came out,” Liriano said through interpreter Josue Peley. “Being in the bullpen, I’m not used to it yet, so it’s just a little tight, nothing serious.”
Liriano made his first relief appearance since 2012 on Friday in Tampa, surrendering a homer and a triple while facing three batters. This time around, he felt much stronger.
“I’m just trying to do my job, trying to help the team and things worked out for me today,” he said.
NOTES: Dickey was called for a balk by first base umpire Mark Wegner in the third inning when it appeared the knuckleballer had picked off Jacoby Ellsbury. “I think they interpreted it that I moved my leg before I started to go to first base,” explained Dickey. “It’s my 20th season professionally, I’ve been doing the same move my entire career so it was a little bit of a surprise. I just thought we caught him, he was going, obviously. Then when that dugout gets to chirping at the first base umpire just as we would if we were over there on a good move, the next thing you know it’s a balk. It didn’t hurt us but it was a surprise.” … Righty Bo Schultz and lefty Aaron Loup will be the club’s final September callups.