Taillon (0-1) was charged with the loss against the Blue Jays on Tuesday after surrendering five runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out three across 3.2 innings. Hopes were high for the 29-year-old after he turned in a decent start in his season debut, allowing two runs on three hits while striking out seven across 4.2 innings against the Orioles. This time around, Taillon struggled to quiet Toronto's bats and was pulled in the fourth frame after serving up a home run to Marcus Semien and an RBI double to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. In all, Taillon threw 59 of his 84 pitches for strikes, hitting a batter and tossing a wild pitch in the process. The right-hander was making just his second start since 2019 after recovering from his second Tommy John surgery.
Manager Aaron Boone said Sunday that Taillon won't start until the Yankees' sixth game of the season April 7 against the Orioles, Pete Caldera of The Bergen Record reports. Taillon will head into Opening Day as the team's nominal fifth starter, with Boone noting that he wants to "slow play" the right-hander as he returns from his second career Tommy John procedure, which he underwent in August 2019. Expect the Yankees to monitor Taillon's workload carefully to begin the season, while also building in extra days of rest for the 29-year-old whenever possible. Taillon has allowed only one run while striking out 14 over 8.1 innings this spring, but he's also walked four while yielding a .257 batting average against.
Through four Grapefruit League appearances, Taillon has given up one run on nine hits and four walks while striking out 14 in 8.1 innings. The Yankees haven't asked Taillon to cover any more than 2.2 innings in any of his four spring outings, but the right-hander has looked good thus far in his comeback from Tommy John surgery. Expect New York to exercise some caution with Taillon's pitch and innings counts early on during the regular season, but the 29-year-old should get a longer leash as the campaign rolls along. He's projected to open the season as the Yankees' No. 3 starter.
Taillon started and tossed two scoreless innings against the Pirates in Saturday's Grapefruit League game, allowing two hits and one walk while striking out four. Taillon was originally scheduled to pitch behind Gerrit Cole in the exhibition contest, but the Yankees instead opted to have Cole throwing a live batting practice session in Tampa while Taillon got the start against Pittsburgh. Taillon breezed through the first inning before allowing a pair of singles and a walk in the second frame, but he was able to escape without allowing any runs thanks to an inning-ending strikeout. The right-hander has now completed three scoreless innings this spring as he ramps up for the third-starter spot in the Yankees' regular-season rotation.
Taillon (elbow) tossed a live batting practice session Wednesday, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com reports. Taillon's ability to face hitters this early in spring training would seem to suggest that the Yankees are confident that he's made a full recovery from the May 2019 Tommy John surgery that sidelined him for the entire 2020 campaign, his final season in Pittsburgh. After surrendering a quartet of prospects to acquire him in January, the Yankees are counting on a healthy Taillon to re-emerge as a reliable No. 2 or 3 starter behind his former Pirates rotation mate, staff ace Gerrit Cole. Expect the Yankees to use Taillon judiciously in games during the Grapefruit League slate, but he should be ready to handle a 75-to-100-pitch workload in starts by the beginning of the regular season in April.
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