By Manny Randhawa
Victory Field, Indianapolis – MLB veteran pitchers Francisco Liriano and Jose Contreras each made appearances with the Indians this week in Indianapolis, and each impressed the Victory Field faithful with their performances.
Recovering from a fractured right arm, Liriano took the hill for the Tribe on April 25 and tossed five dominant innings against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs, allowing just one run on four hits while striking out eight without surrendering a single free pass.
“I was really impressed with Liriano the other night,” Indians pitching coach Tom Filer said. “He totally dominated the ballgame; his fastball was down, it was moving, it had a lot of life on it. And when he started really mixing in that changeup and the slider, he was making hitters look bad.”
Contreras, who underwent Tommy John surgery in June, made a relief appearance for the Tribe on April 26, pitching a solid eighth inning despite giving up a solo homer to Lehigh Valley’s Tommy Joseph.
“He’s working his way back and I like his arm strength,” Filer said of Contreras. “He looked good and he threw some pretty good secondary pitches as well.”
Contreras embodied Filer’s praise in his second appearance with the Tribe on April 27 against the Gwinnett Braves, as the right-handed reliever struck out the side in his only frame of action. Through his two outings out of the bullpen, he posted a combined 4.50 ERA with three strikeouts, no walks and just one hit.
The man who was on the receiving end of both hurlers’ offerings, top prospect catcher Tony Sanchez, said he was very impressed with what he saw.
“They’re so consistent with their pitches,” the backstop said. “They can throw anything in any count and they have so much confidence in their stuff.”
Both veteran pitchers are slated to continue their respective stints for the Indianapolis Indians, with Liriano set to take the mound in the finale of the Tribe’s 10-game homestand on April 30.