Jameson Taillon was placed on the IL in early May. It is now early July. Two months, and no real answers regarding Taillon's progress and recovery are in sight.
We do know he has a "strained right elbow flexor tendon." We do know he was scheduled to play catch Thursday before the Pirates' series finale against the Cubs.
Last night, I asked Clint Hurdle how that catch session went for Taillon.
“Don’t know if that happened,” Hurdle told me.
So today, during Hurdle's pregame media session at PNC Park, I followed up to see if he heard from Taillon either later last night or earlier this morning.
Today, we got an answer — although it's not the one Pirates fans wanted to hear. Here's the exchange:
"I spoke with Jamo on the way out to our car and caught up with him," Hurdle told me before the Pirates 7:05 p.m. game vs. the Brewers. "There's going to be a catch being played here sometime this weekend. He was going to hook up with the trainers after they got all the information that they got and then walk through it together and talk about it, and they'll establish some kind of soft plan going forward. But he's looking forward to playing catch here this weekend."
So Thursday's catch session never happened. He's now expected to play catch "this weekend," although Hurdle wasn't more specific than that. And while Taillon's injury seems to have dragged on in the eyes of media and fans alike, Hurdle fully expected this slow and cautious process.
"I can't say his recovery's more delayed than anticipated," Hurdle said. "Obviously, the information I got, we thought it'd be a delay, so we weren't looking for him back any time soon."
Hurdle did, however, commend everything Taillon has done thus far — not just relating to this injury but in his entire professional career to date. He's had Tommy John surgery, hernia surgery and a procedure to remove cancerous tissue from his scrotum. Each time, he's bounced back, and he entered the 2019 campaign as the Pirates' expected ace.
That, to Hurdle, is everything.
"When those things kind of happen, you just kind of give the man time," Hurdle said. "And I think that's what serves us best, is we focus on the man. It's not about us, what we've lost. It's about what he needs to move forward ... The man he's become is a result of what he's been through. And he's been through more than [anybody else, maybe] in that clubhouse."
It increasingly seems Taillon will not throw another pitch for the Pirates this season. Sure, this is only the difference of playing catch Thursday vs. playing catch Saturday or Sunday, but it's the whole timeline of it all that's so worrisome. Things keep getting bumped back, questions keep lingering, and no firm decisions are made. Each day wasted is a day not spent on Taillon's recovery, bumping his return back and back.
That's not encouraging. We'll see where it goes from here, but I'm personally not holding my breath on Taillon's return in 2019 — at a minimum.
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