The Pittsburgh Pirates look like they’ll get some needed reinforcements to the starting rotation as right-hander Jameson Taillon is on track to be ready for Opening Day after working his way back from Tommy John surgery.
“There’s no reason he won’t be ready for Opening Day,” Pirates GM Ben Cherington said on MLB Network Radio. “He was probably champing at the bit to pitch at the end of this year. We didn’t do that … but he was facing hitters at the end of the year, you know, throwing live BPs.”
Taillon last pitched on May 1, 2019. The team initially shut the 29-year-old down after he was diagnosed with a right elbow flexor strain, but it was later determined he needed Tommy John surgery that August. The surgery marked his second time undergoing the procedure.
Cherington added Taillon has made some adjustments to his approach during his rehab.
“He’s made some actual changes in his arm patterning and his delivery,” Cherington said. “(He) really studied … the way his own body and arm are moving to try and figure out ‘where am I putting stress on joints that maybe I shouldn’t be.'”
The former 2010 second overall pick owns a career 29-24 record with a 3.67 ERA, 1.25 WHIP, and 419 strikeouts over 466 innings in parts of four seasons.
The Pirates recently designated right-hander Trevor Williams for assignment and lost veteran Chris Archer to free agency. Taillon is slated to rejoin the rotation alongside Joe Musgrove, Mitch Keller, Steven Brault, and JT Brubaker.