PITTSBURGH (93-7 The FAN) – Pirates manager Clint Hurdle tabbed Francisco Liriano as the team’s Opening Day starter on Tuesday afternoon. Hurdle made the announcement following the first official full squad workout at Pirate City in Bradenton, Florida. It will be Liriano’s first Opening Day assignment with the Bucs.
The 2013 Opening Day honors went to A.J. Burnett, now pitching with the Philadelphia Phillies.
“The game demands that he met (in 2013), the way he handles himself professionally,” Hurdle said confidently of Liriano and as to why he chose the veteran left-hander to take the mound against the Cubs on March 31.
“He is another guy that models the behavior that you want to instill in others,” Hurdle continued.
Liriano has been given the ball on an Opening Day one other time in his career – 2009 with the Minnesota Twins.
“He’s a man you can depend on.” Hurdle said. “The greatest ability that you can have is your dependability, and we have that in Francisco.”
Manager Clint Hurdle discusses further why Francisco Liriano was named the team’s 2014 Opening Day Starter