After long road back, Taillon solid in first outing

Pirates' righty threw two innings against Braves

After long road back, Taillon solid in first outing

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - At long last, Jameson Taillon took the mound for a game not against his teammates.

The No. 2 pick in 2010 Draft threw 35 pitches over two innings on Saturday afternoon during the Pirates' 9-6 win, the closest he has gotten to regular-season action in two years. His only damage was a solo homer to right off the bat of Tyler Flowers that began the bottom of the fourth.

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"That shows what falling behind in the count can do to you," Taillon said of Flowers' home run. "A belt-high [fastball] doesn't usually go well."

The other baserunners Taillon allowed were both with two outs and the bases empty.

In his first inning of work, the game's third, Taillon walked Kelly Johnson, and then in his second inning, a ground ball popped out of shortstop Cole Figueroa's glove for a Daniel Castro infield single. Otherwise, Taillon induced two groundouts to each of his middle infielders and struck out Freddie Freeman and Jeff Francoeur.

"I just missed on a couple pitches," Taillon said. "My mechanics feel good. For this early in the spring, my timing feels good. I feel like I'm getting some good, crisp spin on my pitches, good ball flight carrying through the catcher."

Taillon, who will likely start the season at Triple-A Indianapolis, said this time in the MLB camp is no longer about feeling out big league Spring Training, but just transitioning two years of rehab into game action.

Taillon missed the 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery on his right elbow, and his 2015 never got going after undergoing surgery on his hernia in July.

"My goal this spring is just to attack hitters and treat it really like it's a regular-season game," he said.

The feeling for Taillon's changeup has come and gone, but his curveball has had a natural feeling as he's been accustomed to, he said. Taillon also noted mixing the angles on curves was a key in preventing the five left-handed batters atop the Braves lineup from breaking the game open.

Manager Clint Hurdle was impressed with what he saw from the young right-hander.

"I liked the downhill angle," Hurdle said. "I liked the ability to mix his pitches up. The fastball had some finish. He gets taken out [opposite field], and it's no big deal. It's 'Come on, I got to go back and get to work, get some people [out].'"

Zak Kerr is a contributor to This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.