NEW YORK -- Major League Baseball announced that Pittsburgh Pirates left-hander Francisco Liriano has been named the National League's recipient of the 2013 Comeback Player of the Year Award. The southpaw made three rehab starts for Indianapolis while recovering from a right arm fracture, where he posted a 2-0 record with a 3.38 ERA (6 ER in 16.0 IP) before rejoining the Pirates for the remainder of the season on May 11.
Liriano began his recovery by dominating the International League to the tune of an MiLB-best 23 strikeouts and only one walk over his three starts from April 25 - May 5. While the lefty was nearly unhittable during his entire Triple-A foray, he was especially impressive in his first two games, combining for 17 punchouts, no walks and just two earned runs in 11.0 frames of work. He limited opponents to a lone score in each of those two outings, tossing 5.0 innings of one-run ball vs. Lehigh Valley on April 25 and 6.0 frames of one-run action on April 30 vs. Gwinnett.
On a team which concluded the 2013 campaign ranked third in the IL in total punchouts, Liriano's brief Triple-A stint remained tied with league strikeout leader Andy Oliver for the most whiffs of any Indians hurler during a three-start stretch last season. In addition, the southpaw's 23.00 strikeout-to-walk ratio ranked a full 8.00 points higher than all league pitchers who also tossed at least 16.0 frames in 2013.
Including his three total appearances for Indianapolis this season, Liriano improved to 21-4 with a phenomenal 2.68 ERA (67 ER in 225.0 IP), 248 strikeouts and 56 walks through 36 career starts in the International League. He has now won 12 consecutive IL decisions and has not suffered a loss in the league since May 15, 2008 while pitching for Rochester against a visiting Columbus.
Liriano, who also won the AL Comeback Player of the Year Award in 2010, is now the first player ever to win the accolade twice -- and in each League -- since the award's inception in 2005.