The Pittsburgh Pirates announced on Sunday that Jameson Taillon will undergo Tommy John surgery after being diagnosed with an injury to his ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow.
Taillon began feeling pain in his elbow with two weeks remaining in spring training after being assigned to minor league camp. Originally he was prescribed rest for two weeks, but the right-hander felt pain when he began throwing again.
Taillon doesn’t have a fully torn ligament, but it was enough to need surgery
The right handed pitcher is the Pirates No. 2 prospect and No. 16 in major league baseball. Last season Taillon split time between Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis. In 23 games with Altoona, he posted a 3.39 ERA while striking out 124 batters. Then in six games with Indianapolis, the 22-year-old had a 3.89 ERA and striking out 24.
Pirates’ fans hoped to see Taillon at some point this season, but they will have to wait a little longer. On average TJ surgery takes at least a year to 18 months to recover from.
At one time the prognosis of returning to the mound was slim, but many believe that pitchers now return throwing harder than ever. With that said, Taillon is probably better off suffering the injury now rather than in eight years.
Pittsburgh starter Charlie Morton underwent the same procedure in 2012 and has returned looking better than ever. Other notable pitchers who have undergone TJ Surgery are the Cardinals’ Adam Wainwright, Nationals pitching phenom Stephen Strasburg, and Phillies’ A.J. Burnett, all who have recovered and had success in the majors.
The injury is a disappointment to both the Pirates and their fans, but there is no immediate reason to worry about Taillon’s future. The Pirates still have other options if they need another starter, including Brandon Cumpton, Jeanmar Gomez, Stolmy Pimentel and Vance Worley.