The Blue Jays’ bullpen has taken another hit as the club elected to remove Francisco Liriano from the ALDS active roster, inserting right-hander Danny Barnes in his place. Toronto already had lost Joaquin Benoit to a torn calf muscle in the last week of September.
Liriano suffered a concussion on a Carlos Gomez line drive on Friday’s game that hit Liriano in the head, forcing him to leave the game to head to the hospital for tests. Earlier this afternoon, trainer George Poulis told the media that Liriano was diagnosed with a “mild concussion”.
Danny Barnes will replace Liriano on the #BlueJays ALDS roster. Under new MLB rules, Liriano can return for ALCS.— Barry Davis (@SNBarryDavis) October 9, 2016
In general, players removed during a postseason series are not eligible to play for the subsequent series. However, since Liriano suffered a concussion, he would be eligible to appear on the Blue Jays’ ALCS roster if Toronto advances, but not until next Saturday for game 2 of the series at the earliest. The seven-day mandatory ineligibility criteria aligns the postseason rules with the special seven-day disabled list available to clubs for concussion injuries during the regular season.
...a replaced player, who has suffered an acute concussion during a post-season series, may be eligible to play in the next subsequent post-season series that year, provided that the player has been ineligible to play for a minimum of seven days, and Major League Baseball’s Medical Director has reviewed a Return to Play form and supporting information and approved the reinstatement.
—Major League Rule 40(a)(4)(C), 2015
Unlike regular season disabled lists, there is no retroactivity provisions here since the rule states that the player must be ineligible to play for a minimum of seven days, today included. Had the Jays not removed Liriano until Sunday, he would have had to miss the first two games of the ALCS. I am hoping that this was the reason the Jays chose to make the roster move, and that it wasn’t prompted by worsening symptoms from the 32-year-old lefty.
Prior to the ALCS on Friday, the Blue Jays (should they win the series against the Rangers) are allowed to submit a roster made up of only 24 players then add Liriano (or another eligible player) on Saturday.
Liriano was a valuable reliever for the Blue Jays, being able to come in to face left handed batters as well as to pitch multiple innings if needed. The remaining southpaws in the Toronto bullpen are Brett Cecil and Aaron Loup.
Barnes, who turns 27 later this month, was a 35th round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 2010. He made his major league debut this August, appearing in 12 games over two stints with the big club.
MLB rules dictate that pitchers removed during a series must be replaced by a pitcher, and position players must be replaced by a position player. That’s why the Blue Jays were unable to replace Liriano’s spot with Ryan Goins to provide middle infield depth.
Despite the bad news, the Blue Jays hold a two-win advantage on the Rangers in the best-of-five ALDS, meaning a win on Sunday will advance Toronto to the ALCS.