PITTSBURGH — Jameson Taillon will make his much-awaited Major League debut Wednesday, Pirates manager Clint Hurdle revealed in his media briefing Tuesday.
Monday’s rain delay and Tuesday’s doubleheader precipitated a change in plans for the 24-year-old right hander, who general manager Neal Huntington said he expected to make at least one more minor-league start in his radio show on Sunday.
But with Jonathon Niese and Juan Nicasio both starting Tuesday, the Pirates would not have had a starter available on four days of rest for Saturday.
“The opportunity has presented itself for him to come up and give us a shot in the arm,” Hurdle said, adding that he had other options for a spot start, but decided on Taillon. “What we consider is the growth, the volume of work at Triple-A and the need, because there is a need. We are going to have another pitcher involved in this process, so we’re capitalize on it being his day to pitch and Liriano can use an extra ‘pen, based on what he’s been doing.”
Francisco Liriano was originally scheduled to pitch Wednesday, but he will have his start pushed back to Saturday to fill that spot against the St. Louis Cardinals and open up a spot on regular rest for Taillon.
Liriano had his worst outing of the season last time out, when he gave up 10 hits and seven runs in just 3.1 innings against the Los Angeles Angels on June 3.
Hurdle said the team is taking the future of the rotation “one day at a time,” meaning that this could be just a spot start or that Taillon end up in the rotation.
“There’s things in his control and things out of his control,” Hurdle said. “We do believe he’s worked hard. This opportunity is his, although it’s not going to be based on the results on where it takes it for him.”
What the Pirates are looking for instead of results is to see Taillon’s stuff play at a major-league level, and to see how the young man reacts to the opportunity.
“The four-seam fastball is playing, the curveball, the angle, the downhill, the changeup and the ability to throw some secondary pitches in offensive counts,” Hurdle rattled off while naming Taillon’s positive attributes. “There’s been a little work with a two-seamer as well, which we believer will have an opportunity to play out at this level.
“Like we look for anyone else we call up, to go out and compete, to put us in a position to have a shot to win the game, show command, show mound presence, show poise, show rhythm and patience off the mound.”
Taillon was the Pirates’ first-round pick in the 2010 draft. He has made ten starts with Triple-A Indianapolis this season, and has a 4-2 record with a 2.04 ERA. He leads the International League with an 0.81 WHIP and ranks sixth with 61 strikeouts.
Taillon will face Mets ace Noah Syndergaard in his debut.
• Ryan Vogelsong made his first visit to the Pirates’ clubhouse since his surgery to repair facial fractures five days ago. There has still been no update to his prognosis.
• The Pirates expect to recall pitcher Wilfredo Boscan as a 26th man for the second game of the doubleheader.
• Hurdle said he has his entire roster available to him, meaning that third baseman David Freese will likely see his first action since being hit on the hand with a pitch in Miami June 2.
• Catcher Francisco Cervelli, who suffered a foot injury in the same game Freese was injured, was expected to return for Monday’s rainout. He will catch Game 1 of the doubleheader and bat sixth.