Taillon confident after first spring start

Righty feels good on mound with altered grip of changeup

Taillon confident after first spring start

SARASOTA, Fla. -- Jameson Taillon has already shown the Pirates what he can do at the highest level, so results are not of great concern when he takes the mound in Spring Training, particularly not in his first outing.

Taillon, set to start the second game of the regular season, allowed two runs on three hits and two walks in two innings of work in the Pirates' 8-3 loss to the Orioles on Sunday at Ed Smith Stadium. Of bigger-picture importance, he successfully mixed in his modified changeup and laid a foundation to build on next month.

"I thought when everything synced up the right way, it was coming out really, really well," Taillon said. "I went in there with an open mind, and we'll see going forward."

Taillon gave up a first-pitch homer to Baltimore center fielder Adam Jones in the first inning. He didn't have his usual fastball sink or location, manager Clint Hurdle noted, and it took the typically efficient right-hander 42 pitches (only 22 for strikes) to get through two innings. He struck out three batters, including Jones the second time around on a 94 mph fastball.

Taillon has tweaked his changeup, switching from a four-seam grip to a two-seam since his two-seamer is now his primary fastball. He spent the offseason working on that pitch and plans to test it by throwing it often this spring.

"It's feeling comfortable," he said.

Taillon sat down with pitching coach Ray Searage on Saturday to plan out the rest of his spring. The second-year starter can already circle his first outing on the calendar: April 5 against the Red Sox at Fenway Park.

"I wasn't expecting to get the word that early in Spring Training," Taillon said. "It's a big honor."

Around the horn
• Utility man Adam Frazier was scratched from Sunday's lineup due to left thumb discomfort. Frazier hurt his thumb while hitting on Saturday. Hurdle said the Pirates didn't want to push Frazier by playing him again on Sunday.

David Freese was a healthy scratch. The veteran corner infielder started at third base Saturday at LECOM Park and was initially slated to play first base on Sunday. Instead, Jose Osuna started at first and homered to right-center in the fourth inning.

• Outfield prospect Austin Meadows, who started in center field, was hit in the right forearm by a pitch, but remained in the game.

Andrew McCutchen started in right field and hit a first-inning double for the second straight day. McCutchen swatted a pitch from Miley off the right-field wall. He played five innings in right, struck out looking in his second at-bat and grounded out to third in his final plate appearance.

Adam Berry has covered the Pirates for MLB.com since 2015. Follow him on Twitter and Facebook, read his blog and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.