INDIANAPOLIS – Sunday marked the two-year anniversary since Jameson Taillon went under the knife and had Tommy John surgery. He was expected to celebrate the milestone with his first start in Triple-A since the surgery, but was pushed back due to three straight postponements for Indianapolis. Triple-A is where Taillon left off when his career hit a freeze in 2013.

Taillon has grown so accustomed to rehabbing, that preparing for the start of a season felt like a new experience.

“Coming in this year, they didn’t treat me any different in the spring,” Taillon said. “I just got to go out there and prove that I am healthy and ready to go and have fun on a baseball field again.”

Pirates manager Clint Hurdle seconded the sentiment about preparing for the season rather than just rehabbing, and is pleased with what he has seen so far.

“[Taillon is] strong and had a good spring,” Hurdle said. “He’s had a healthy spring. Most importantly, he’s been able to pitch and work on pitching, not rehabbing.”

Taillon has the stuff back that made him a top prospect, and said that just making it through the spring without anymore setbacks was a key to him.

“[The biggest takeaway from the Spring] is that I am healthy,” Taillon said. “I haven’t been healthy in a couple of years. I went in with high expectations. I put in a lot of work over the past couple of years. I was pleased with how I felt and how much feel I had throwing. I threw a lot of strikes, felt healthy, felt crisp. I am ready to go.”

In the spring, Taillon was sitting between 93-96 MPH on the fastball in minor league games in camp. He was also effectively getting the ball down in the zone and had a fluid delivery. His breaking ball also had the same sharp break as before he was injured.

While Taillon said that he is naturally a patient guy, he also admitted that he really struggled at times being away from games and from a team in general. However, he said that he re-channeled that into fuel to the fire to get back, even if that was not as soon as his plan had in line before last season’s sports hernia.

“I got my hopes really high to contribute last year,” Taillon said. “In ’15, I did all my rehab to do that and then had another rehab to go through. I really channeled everything toward 2016. I thought that I used my time wisely and got better. I used it to work and did not sulk on it. If it was going to happen to anyone, I felt like I was a good one to have it happen to. Just mentally, I thought that I was strong enough to take it on and get something out of it.”

Indianapolis manager Dean Treanor thinks that a key is doing just that, enjoying being back in the game while still not trying to do too much.

“[Taillon] is throwing the ball really well,” Treanor said. “It is two years away [from the game]. You try to get him in the frame of mind that he can’t make up for those two years by trying to go out here and doing more than he can do, or to try to hurry the process. We are going to be careful with him on pitch count, innings, those types of things. I think they are going to map that out for him [in Pittsburgh]. I just want him to be excited to be back out there on the mound and get that feeling back. He is a competitor and to let him go out there and compete. Let the innings take care of itself. Let the process take care of itself and not get ahead of himself.”

While he confirmed that there would be an innings limit this season, Treanor did not elaborate on that amount. Taillon mentioned in his remarks a number of 180 innings, but did not confirm that was the number. If that is the case, a 180-inning limit would be consistent with other pitchers returning from Tommy John surgery.

Taillon said that having the experience at Triple-A already would be important to him starting the season at the level, even if it was two years ago and just six starts. He said that he knows that he can get Triple-A hitters out and got some of the “learning starts” out of the way.

Additionally, he knows that Triple-A is just one level shy of his dream. For Taillon, this season is about make the dream a reality.

“This year has the chance to turn from [Tyler Glasnow and myself] being prospects to being able to dream of what we can become and hopefully start proving what we can become,” Taillon said. “I hope it is taking that vision into reality.”

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22 COMMENTS

  1. We really need Glasnow and Taillon to string together several really good starts in a row and check-off a lot of things left on their “lists”…because we have no real rotation depth and could really use strong performances from them once promoted.

  2. Best wishes for a great 1st start to the season, JT. And most importantly, that you remain healthy.

  3. LLOYD is no MLB lineup constructionist………and we defer to skipper Hurdle and the boys every time. But dangit, LLOYD can’t help but notice Cutch’s number’s in the two-spot and wonder if the best lineup may be:
    1. Polanco RF (L)
    2. Cervelli C
    3. Cutch CF
    4. Jaso 1B (L)
    5. Marte LF
    6. Freese 3B
    7. J-Hay All-Day 2B
    8. Mercer SS

    And also….Foooo, have you checked out Jaso’s recent and career stats with Risp??
    He is a stud if LLOYD’s memory serves him right.

    LLOYD

    ps………..foooooooooooooooo

    • Who is this Lloyd guy you keep referring to? Is it Lee Foo’s cousin that was released from Lewisburg?

    • Did you ever check out Mercer’s RISP, even this years numbers. Hurdle said, “contract extensions are based on future productions not the past numbers”. That is why Pedro and Walker are gone. Walker range, Pedro errors, and both RISP. Mercer was already replaced by Kang till his injury. Mercer is on the clock.

      • Using RISP hitting to base future pay off of is the dumbest metric to use.

        Plenty of other valid reasons not to extend Mercer, that have nothing to do with the smallest sample size and always impossible to predict RISP.

  4. Yeah baby, LLOYD can’t wait till young Jameson makes his Bucco debut in a few months. And DAMN, icing on the cake if younger Glasnow is right behind him.

  5. I hoped they would one day be the tandem that Smotlz/Glavin were. I’m not always the most optimistic person in this room so I’m sure a different crowd will jump on me for that one.

    • Always thought Smoltz was great but I’m sure some will disagree with me on this. Glavin was a so-so pitcher who was made great because umpires gave him & Maddox a strike zone a foot wider then everyone else. If he had to pitch in the strike zone he would’ve been average at best.

      • I remember the announcer joking during the playoffs that both Smoltz and Glavin had contests to see how far they could throw it off the plate and still get a strike call. Even so they are still looked at as great tandem, so I hope someday soon Cole/Taillon will be looked at the same.

      • I definitely rank Glavine a distant third whem comparing him to Maddux and Smoltz, but to suggest Robo Ump’s would make him average at best is ludicrous. He was world-class at changing speeds and hitting spots, which explains why he got all those calls.

        • He definitely hit his target, but the target was usually 6 in. in the other batters box. What’s ludicrous is thinking that doesn’t make a huge impact. Prime example if Jeff Locke is getting the call on the 2 inch off the inside corner fastball to RH’s he pitches really well. If he doesn’t get that call he doesn’t see the 5th inning. Glavin always got the calls 6 in. off the plate. Huge difference. One is HOF the other one stinks 2 out of 3 starts.

          • The difference between Glavine and Locke is consistency. Glavine figured out where the edge of the strike zone was that game and peppered it. When Locke does that he almost always wins, when he doesn’t he gets lit up.

            I also believe Bobby Cox had a lot to do with his staff getting those borderline calls more frequently than others. He was a Manager who fought for his players, and I believe he got many calls by bullying the umpires.

        • Thanks for spelling Glavine’s name correctly, just a ha ha comment, I get most player names wrong as well folks….

    • Not a big deal but it seems really odd that you are talking about the Smoltz/Glavine “tandem” as if Maddox didn’t exist. Those two were HOFers but even so they were a notch below Maddox. And only Glavine came up through the Braves organization as Smoltz was acquired via trade.

      • I didn’t think Maddox was on the 92 team. Memory may be fading, but that is how I remembered the conversation that year.

    • Yeah, in my mind Taillon always seemed like more of a mental player, as opposed to Cole’s pure intensity. Cole has come a long way on that front though, and has seemed to greatly improve in that area. With Taillon, someone still makes me think he’s more of an artistic, pitchability guy. But the bonus with Taillon is, as a fan you might be lulled on that aspect, then look at the radar gun and realize he’s consistently into the mid-90’s.

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