MAY 18: Taillon’s pathology report did indeed come back positive for testicular cancer, reports MLB.com’s Adam Berry. While there’s no timetable for his return to the mound, Taillon has been cleared to resume light baseball activities, according to Berry, which is certainly good news. Taillon has been at PNC Park with his teammates this week and has played catch in addition to participating in some light cardiovascular work. Taillon is slated to be re-examined next week.
MAY 8: Pirates righty Jameson Taillon has undergone surgery for what is suspected to be testicular cancer, according to a team announcement. MLBTR sends Taillon its very best wishes for a full and speedy recovery.
At present, the ensuing treatment plan has yet to be decided. “Further testing” will be required before a course is charted, according to the team, with updates to be announced “as appropriate.”
Needless to say, Taillon’s overall health and well-being are much more important than his playing status, but it seems reasonable to anticipate that he’ll be sidelined for at least some time. Pittsburgh had already called up Josh Lindblom to take the roster spot of Taillon, who has been placed on the 10-day DL.
The news immediately calls to mind the situation of Rockies righty Chad Bettis, another promising young starting pitcher who has battled testicular cancer. In his case, the hope was that an offseason procedure would clear the way for a full return to health both on and off the mound. Unfortunately, Bettis ultimately required chemotherapy when it was discovered that the cancer has spread. He is expected to miss most or all of the current season.
The hope remains both that Bettis will get back to full health and that Taillon’s own course will be more straightforward. In the meantime, it’s a good reminder for everyone to monitor for these and other ailments. As Bettis said upon his initial diagnosis: “This only reinforces my belief that each of us needs to be totally in tune with our own physical health, and that taking action sooner than later when we feel like something is off can sometimes literally be the difference between life and death.”
Taillon’s own statement is also well worth a full read (via his Twitter account). This challenge, like others he has faced, has “just added fuel to my burning fire,” he writes, continuing: “Today I lost a piece of my ’manhood.’ But, today I’m feeling like more o a man than I ever have.”