Bucs' Taillon will make MLB debut Wednesday vs. Mets

Bucs' Taillon will make MLB debut Wednesday vs. Mets

PITTSBURGH -- Six years to the day after the Pirates selected him second overall in the 2010 Draft, Jameson Taillon arrived at PNC Park and found a No. 50 jersey hanging from a locker with his name on it. It has been a longer journey than expected, the destination delayed by injuries and lengthy rehabilitation programs, but Taillon finally made it.

The Pirates will call up Taillon, their No. 4 prospect and the No. 49 prospect in baseball according to MLBPipeline.com, from Triple-A Indianapolis on Wednesday to make his Major League debut in their series finale against Noah Syndergaard and the Mets. He reported to Pittsburgh on Tuesday, settling in before a start long in the making.

"I feel like I'm in a position to say I put in the work for it. I wasn't just given this," Taillon said. "It's definitely sweet to be here."

• Taillon moves past injuries

The day Taillon first walked into his future home, he said, "My goal is to be back here at PNC Park in a few years and help this team." It was Aug. 19, 2010, and Taillon was 18 years old.

On Tuesday, Taillon, now 24, sat on the dais in the same room where he set that goal and reflected on the road he travelled to eventually get back here.

"I don't think this was the path I saw myself taking," Taillon said. "It's kind of what I've had dealt for me. Definitely makes it sweeter."

Taillon may have been here two years ago if not for a torn ulnar collateral ligament that wiped out his 2014 season. It may have come late last season, after Taillon completed the grueling Tommy John recovery process, if not for a hernia that required surgery.

Instead, it will come Wednesday, six years and a day after his name was called between All-Stars Bryce Harper and Manny Machado in the first round of the 2010 Draft.

Showing no signs of rust after two years spent working away from the bright lights of the big leagues -- or even the dimmer lights of Triple-A -- Taillon went 4-2 with a 2.04 ERA, 61 strikeouts and six walks in 10 starts for Indianapolis.

"Mentally, I came back strong. I wasn't too concerned about the results," Taillon said. "I was looking forward to competing and playing. The same stuff that got hitters out in 2013 gets them out now."

Monday's rainout forced the Pirates to alter their rotation and left them without a well-rested option for Saturday. They opted late Monday night to push back struggling lefty Francisco Liriano and start Taillon on Wednesday, his scheduled Triple-A start day.

While the Pirates were debating their options, Taillon was lying in a hotel bed in Columbus, Ohio, watching Netflix -- season two of "Bloodline," to be specific. He rolled over to text his girlfriend good night and found "some missed calls from some numbers I didn't have."

The call Taillon missed was his long-awaited call to the Majors. Shortly afterward, Triple-A manager Dean Treanor delivered the news.

"I kind of blacked out from adrenaline," Taillon said.

General manager Neal Huntington admitted to some "mixed feelings" about calling up Taillon. He could be here to stay, or this may be a spot start. Some of the determining factors, Huntington said, are out of Taillon's control.

"We're thrilled for him, to get him to this point with the adversity that he's just powered through," Huntington said. "Ideally, we would have had more time. And we may take more time."

Zinkie looks at Taillon's impact

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB) 
An elite prospect with terrific Minor League stats this season (2.04 ERA, 0.81 WHIP), Taillon should be picked up in most fantasy leagues right away. While not guaranteed a permanent spot in the Bucs' starting quintet, the right-hander may need just one start to prove that he can outperform current rotation members Jeff Locke (4.28 ERA in 2016) and Nicasio (4.75 ERA). On a contending Pirates club with a pitcher-friendly venue and in a National League with several rebuilding teams, the 24-year-old could see his fair share of favorable matchups if given the chance.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter at @adamdberry. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.