Pirates righthander Francisco Liriano left his start against the Cubs on Tuesday in the fourth inning with an apparent oblique injury.
While facing Anthony Rizzo for the second time of the night, Liriano grimaced after missing the zone with a pitch. Manager Clint Hurdle and the Pittsburgh training staff came out to check on Liriano. After making a few warmup tosses which made it clear he could not return, he headed into the clubhouse.
For the night, Liriano allowed a pair of earned runs on a two-run bomb by Rizzo and three hits while striking out four.
The Pirates simply have not had the same luck on the mound that they did last year. Gerrit Cole is on the DL with shoulder fatigue, and the pitcher whom they believed could be the 2014 version of Cole, top prospect Jameson Taillon, underwent Tommy John surgery before the season even began. Liriano has taken a huge step back this year after a resurgent 2013 season, and entered the game with a 1-6 record and 4.60 ERA. If the early looks of whatever he was dealing with on Tuesday are any indication, he could soon be joining Cole on the shelf.