Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon experienced renewed pain in his right forearm and is no longer throwing, the Pirates revealed to reporters on Wednesday (Twitter link via Jason Mackey of the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). The discomfort sounds particularly ominous, as Pirates medical director Todd Tomczyk suggested that the injury has “run its course of conservative care,” Rob Biertempfel of The Athletic tweets. Taillon will meet with a doctor next week.
Taillon, 27, has been sidelined by a forearm strain since early May, and his absence has played a significant role in the team’s underwhelming season. The former No. 2 overall draft pick and longtime top prospect delivered on that hype in a big way last season when he tossed 191 innings of 3.20 ERA ball, emerging as the Buccos’ staff leader. Taillon averaged 8.4 strikeouts, 2.2 walks and under one home run per nine innings pitched, drawing favorable reviews from fielding-independent metrics as well.
Unfortunately for the club, he’s been limited to 37 1/3 innings this season, which has contributed to the Pirates cycling through a dozen different starters. Chris Archer, Trevor Williams and Jordan Lyles have all struggled but at least been able to give the club some innings, and Joe Musgrove has been solid (if unspectacular) in leading the club with 20 starts. Pittsburgh has also looked to Steven Brault, the since-designated Nick Kingham, rookie Dario Agrazal and top prospect Mitch Keller for starts, and they’ve even experimented with using Montana DuRapau as an opener in bullpen games.
Suffice it to say, a Taillon return in the near future would’ve been a welcome sight but now appears decidedly unlikely. Back in June, it was reported that surgery could eventually emerge as an option if Taillon didn’t improve, and while Tomczyk didn’t directly mention surgery today, the juxtaposition of that June writing and his quote today are troubling for the Bucs.