Jameson Taillon is now on a five day schedule, and getting closer to a return to Indianapolis. The right-hander went three innings today, giving up two hits, no runs, no walks, and striking out three. He sat 92-94 MPH with his fastball, touching 95 once and 96 once. He threw 32 pitches, with 25 strikes.
The typical rehab and buildup for pitchers sees a guy add an inning each start, then head out to a full-season league after a five inning start. That would give Taillon two more starts in extended Spring Training before he would be done. However, his situation might not be typical, and there’s no guarantee he’d be done with his rehab after five innings.
“That’s what I’m shooting for, but ultimately they’ve seen more guys go through rehab,” Taillon said. “I trust that they have a pretty good idea, they know what they’re looking for. When they think I’m ready, I’ll be ready. But the sooner the better for me.”
He noted that he might not go to Indianapolis right away, but instead could make a start in Bradenton or Altoona before going to Triple-A. Taillon admitted he hasn’t talked to the Pirates about that step.
“Just based off of what other guys do, I’d guess I’d probably make a start somewhere else first, whether that’s Bradenton or Altoona,” Taillon said. “I think the thought behind that is it’s just a lot to send someone from these chain link fences to the lights.”
He will complete his buildup in extended Spring Training. The current schedule has him going four innings on Tuesday, and five innings the following Monday, since there are no extended Spring Training games on Sundays. That could put him in line to play with a full-season team on June 13th.
Holmes Throws Against Real Opponents For the First Time
Clay Holmes also pitched today, throwing one inning in his first game against an opponent with a different uniform. The inning was perfect, with Holmes throwing 15 pitches, 9 for strikes, and sitting 92-93 MPH, touching 94. Holmes is also on a five-day schedule now, and will continue pitching the same day as Taillon. He will go two innings his next time out, followed by three innings on the 8th of June. From there, he will extend to four and five innings before joining the Bradenton Marauders.
Holmes was ahead of Taillon in his rehab during Spring Training, since his Tommy John surgery came a few weeks before Taillon’s in 2014. He’s now behind Taillon, due to a setback.
“There was a point where they kind of took a little bit off, and kind of slowed down a little bit,” Holmes said. “I took a little bit there, and that kind of slowed me up, and rebuilt back up from there.”
The move was to give Holmes some rest, and give his arm a rest so that he could finish out the year. It doesn’t seem like it’s a long-term thing, since he’s back to pitching now, and to the point where he’s facing live opponents. That will continue on Tuesday.
Tyler Eppler Also Close to a Return
In another extended Spring Training game today, Tyler Eppler went three innings. He threw 44 pitches, with 25 strikes, and sat 91-93 MPH with his fastball. Eppler was selected in the sixth round of the 2014 draft, and put up some strong numbers last year. He was expected to make the jump to Bradenton, skipping over West Virginia, which is a move the Pirates have reserved for advanced college pitchers like Adrian Sampson and Chad Kuhl.
Eppler will still go to Bradenton when his rehab work is done. His next outing will be on Tuesday, and will see him go four innings. He will follow that up with five innings on Monday, June 8th. After that, he’s expected to join the Marauders, which would put his debut on Saturday, June 13th. Obviously that would be the same date as Taillon’s debut, if Taillon leaves extended Spring Training after his five inning outing. So Eppler could move off that date and be pushed back a day, or Taillon could go to Altoona. That information will probably be known closer to the date.
Lakind Recovering From Leg Surgery
Jared Lakind was an over-slot first baseman taken in the 2010 draft, but switched over to the mound to be a lefty reliever in 2013 after his hitting career stalled. He pitched for West Virginia briefly last year, but struggled and was sent down to Jamestown, where he put up some strong numbers. He returned to West Virginia at the end of July, and put up a 1.54 ERA in 11.2 innings, with a 14:3 K/BB ratio.
The lefty was slated to go to Bradenton this year, but has spent the first two months on the disabled list. He had surgery in Spring Training to remove a cyst that grew on his sciatic nerve in his leg. Lakind said that at first he thought it was regular pain, but then he woke up and couldn’t walk, with his leg dragging.
The surgery put him out until a month after Spring Training, at which point he returned to Pirate City and started building back up.
“It’s feeling good,” Lakind said of the injury. “I throw my second full bullpen tomorrow.”
He said that he expects to throw a sim game and a live BP next week, and is hoping to get into games after that. Extended Spring Training will be wrapping up soon, but Lakind could stay behind and get some innings in a few intrasquad games the Pirates will be holding between the end of extended and the start of the GCL season. He could still go to Bradenton when he’s ready, although that’s up in the air right now.