Picking up a ball and playing catch is something Jameson Taillon has been doing basically since the time he began walking.
However, it will have a little extra significance when he does so Thursday before the Pirates and Cubs finish their four-game series at PNC Park. Independence Day will mark a break from the monotony of the right elbow flexor tendon strain that has sidelined Taillon since May 2.
Taillon is expected to throw from 50-60 feet.
“My goal is to pick up a ball and, if all goes well, get back to pitching,” Taillon said Wednesday at PNC Park.
That may sound simplistic, but that’s where Taillon currently stands in what has been a slow recovery. Taillon, though, has worked his way up to tossing a medicine ball in recent days.
“It’s been to get my arm moving and kind of introduce stress back into the area,” Taillon said. “Now we’re going to put a ball in my hand and see how I react.”
Taillon, who was the opening-day starter, has been through his share of rehabs throughout his professional career. He had Tommy John surgery, hernia surgery and an operation to remove cancerous tissue from his scrotum. However, Taillon admits that his patience does have limits when I asked him about it.
“It’s tough,” Taillon told me. “Each day there’s a game, it’s another day I’m missing, another day on the (IL), so the days started piling and now we’re at 80, 90 games and I’ve missed a lot of them. Every day you come to the field and can’t play, it’s another day I’m missing and not able to contribute.
“The season is flying by, so there are times when I just have to distance myself from things and concentrate on getting healthy.”
In other injury news:
• Gregory Polanco will begin a rehab assignment with Class AAA Indianapolis on Friday, and it is expected to last at least a week. He has been out since June 19 with left shoulder inflammation.
• Keone Kela threw a bullpen Wednesday and is expected to pitch a simulated game Saturday. He has been sidelined since May 6 with shoulder inflammation.
• Francisco Cervelli, out since May 26 with a concussion, continues to take part in all baseball activities but both Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association must process paperwork before he can participate in games.
• Rookie Davis has started a throwing program at the Pirates’ spring training facility in Bradenton, Fla. On the IL since June 8 with a blister on his right middle finger, Davis strained his forearm while on a rehab assignment with Indianapolis.
• Erik Gonzalez is 0 for 11 in four games with Indianapolis on a rehab assignment. He has been out since April 20 with a left clavicle fracture.