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Pregame: Francisco Liriano says he is day-to-day

David Kohl-USA TODAY Sports

Liriano day-to-day

Francisco Liriano will not make tonight's scheduled start due to right hamstring discomfort. The left-hander said he felt sore and "really uncomfortable" during the last five pitches of his bullpen session in Cincinnati. Asked if he thought he would be able to make his next start, Liriano said: "We'll see how I feel. I don't think it is going to be anything serious. We'll see, day-to-day."


- A.J. Schugel joins the Pirates' bullpen tonight, as Michael Morse was designated for assignment. Schugel was selected because he "was one of the last men standing" during spring training and provides the "volume and length" that the club needs right now, Hurdle said. Rob Scahill is on paternity leave and, thus, unavailable for a call up.

- Pedro Florimon cleared waivers and will now decide whether to accept an assignment to Indianapolis.

"He's a good player," Clint Hurdle said. "To have that type of guy available to you if something happens up here is a luxury."

- John Holdzkom cleared waivers and is now a free agent. Hurdle said that the organization will continue to "root for him" and hope that he returns to the majors someday.

"He caught lightning in a bottle in 2014," Hurdle said. "We gave him the ball in the seventh inning of a pennant race. Pretty impressive stuff. He doesn't need to get all the way back [to where he was] to be a productive major league pitcher, I don't think."

Ausmus aware of and seeking to emulate Pirates' pitching philosophy

The Pirates' pitching philosophy of throwing inside is well-known throughout the league. It is an approach that Brad Ausmus said he noticed last year when the two teams played, and one that he is emphasizing with his staff this season.

"When I caught, I was a big advocate of pitching in on guys," Ausmus said. "I tend to agree with it. We talked about it a lot this year with our pitchers."

While the Tigers may be looking to incorporate aspects of the Pirates' philosophy, you won't hear them borrowing from the Pirates' lexicon. Ausmus doesn't like phrase "moving a hitter's feet," which is often cited by Pittsburgh pitchers and coaches.

"First of all, moving feet does nothing," Ausmus said. "It's a bad phrase. If you're a hitter and someone throws me something down-in and I move my feet, it doesn't affect me. It's really moving the upper body that has much more effect. Moving feet has always been a misnomer. I'm not even sure why people use it. It doesn't make sense."

Pitching up-and-in is where Ausmus thinks there are dividends to be earned. He explained that staying in on a hitter's hands is most the effective approach because it is the most likely to create weak contact.

"If you look at exit velocity in the strike zone, up-and-in has the lowest exit velocity," Ausmus said. "That may be the reason why the Pirates do what they do. It's always made sense to me, because I've always believed that, as well."