Game 42: Taillon working his way back

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Story and video by Rob Biertempfel/Photo by Christopher Horner

TaillonST2017The night before his last start on May 3 in Cincinnati, Jameson Taillon felt, as he put it, “something odd” in his groin. He mentioned it to the Pirates’ training staff and within days was diagnosed with suspected testicular cancer. 

Today, Taillon made his first public comments after having surgery to remove a tumor that lab results later confirmed was cancerous. “I’m feeling good now, feeling healthy,” Taillon said. “We’re getting all good news back so far. Going forward, it will have to be something I’ll have to monitor. It will be something I’ll carry with me the rest of my life. It’s part of my identity now.”

Since his surgery, Taillon has been in touch with Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last fall and recently finished a round of chemotherapy. Cancer survivors Andrew Lambo, Lance Armstrong and John Kruk also have reached out. Lambo and Taillon were once teammates at Double-A Altoona. Kruk advised him to take his time coming back from the surgery.

Taillon has visited the Pirates clubhouse and has been cleared for light workouts. There is no timetable yet for when he might return to game action. “We’re going to truly go day to day,” Taillon said. “I still have to do blood work to make sure my markers are where they need to be. Once we get those results back, that will be time to map out a more strict plan.”

>>> UPDATE 5:41 p.m. — The Pirates claimed right-hander Jhan Marinez off waivers from the Milwaukee Brewers. Marinez, 28, went 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA in 15 relief outings before being designated for assignment on Tuesday. Marinez made his debut in 2010 with the Miami Marlins and has put up a 3.63 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP over 68 relief outings in the majors. He throws a slider and a two-seam fastball that averages 95 mph. The Pirates will make a corresponding roster move when Marinez joins the team.

>>> Gerrit Cole will be featured on “Play Ball,” a show geared toward young fans, at 10 a.m. Saturday on MLB Network. Here are a couple of sneak peeks:

>>> Yinz want links? I’ve got links:

Pirates 10, Nationals 4: Josh Bell, making his debut in the cleanup spot, ignites the offense

Notebook: Jaso shrugs off critics, Frazier sings a happy tune

>>> Friday: Phillies at Pirates, 7:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Phillies (14-24): Cesar Hernandez 4, Daniel Nava 9, Aaron Atherr 7, Tommy Joseph 3, Odubel Herrera 8, Maikel Franco 5, Freddy Galvis 6, Cameron Rupp 2, RHP Jeremy Hellickson (4-1, 3.71) 1

Pirates (18-23): Josh Harrison 4, Josh Bell 3, Andrew McCutchen 8, David Freese 5, Francisco Cervelli 2, Jose Osuna 9, Danny Ortiz 7, Jordy Mercer 6, RHP Trevor Williams (2-2, 6.41) 1

Gamecast: This will be Williams’ third start since replacing Jameson Taillon (testicular cancer) in the rotation. In his last outing, Williams picked up the win (5.0 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 4 SO) vs. the Diamondbacks. … Williams has never faced the Phillies. … Cesar Hernandez leads NL second basemen in runs scored and pitches per plate appearance (3.99). He trails only the Nationals Daniel Murphy in OBP (.374) and total bases. … Right-handed hitters were 0 for 20 vs. Phillies RHP reliever Joaquin Benoit until Seattle’s Danny Valencia hit an RBI double on May 10. Benoit is holding righties to a .077 batting average.

>>> Saturday: Phillies at Pirates, 4:05 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Phillies: RHP Vince Velasquez (2-3, 5.63) Pirates: RHP Ivan Nova (3-3, 2.48)

>>> Sunday: Phillies at Pirates, 1:35 p.m. PNC Park. TV: Root. Radio: 93.7 FM

Phillies: RHP Aaron Nola (2-0, 5.40) Pirates: RHP Chad Kuhl (1-4, 6.69)

Rob Biertempfel is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at rbiertempfel@tribweb.com or via Twitter @BiertempfelTrib.

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