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Atlanta Braves Rumors: Scouts Reportedly Watch Francisco Liriano Pitch

We're a little more than a month away from the trade deadline (July 31), which means it's about that time of year when reports of teams scouting various players will start to fly in by the hour. The Atlanta Braves could definitely add a starting pitcher (or two) following the injury to Brandon Beachy, and there appear to be quite a few options on the table.

While many have linked the club to Ryan Dempster and Matt Garza of the Cubs, a new name from a midwestern team has emerged: Francisco Liriano. Here is the report from Roto World.

Phil Mackey of 1500ESPN.com reports that the Braves were scouting Francisco Liriano during Monday's start against the White Sox.

It was a good one to see, as Liriano spun seven innings of one-run ball while allowing just four hits. Mackey notes that the Nationals also had scouts in attendance, but they were scouting Denard Span and possibly others. Liriano has posted five quality starts in six tries since rejoining the rotation and will be a popular trade target next month if he can keep it up.

Liriano, 28, was once a top-prospect with the Minnesota Twins, but arm injuries have held him back in recent seasons. His ERA of 5.30 is pretty ugly in a pitcher-friendly park, although his FIP of 4.18 indicates he's been a bit unlucky due to poor defense this year.

The biggest concern with the lefty is walks: he's averaging more than five per nine innings, which is bad.

It appears the Braves are simply doing their due diligence here by scouting him, but it will be a story to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. Liriano doesn't really appear to be a fit, but he might be worth a closer look should he continue his very recent success on the mound.

For more on the Braves be sure to check out Talking Chop.

Photographs by coka_koehler used in background montage under Creative Commons. Thank you.