Yankees: Jameson Taillon takes significant step forward in rehab process

New York Yankees, Jameson Taillon
Feb 24, 2021; Tampa, Florida, USA; New York Yankees starting pitcher Jameson Taillon (50) throws a pitch during live batting practice during spring training workouts at George M. Steinbrenner Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

When the New York Yankees originally traded for Jameson Taillon, formerly of the Pittsburgh Pirates, most weren’t aware of the quality he was bringing. Taillon has undergone two Tommy John surgeries, which most don’t seem to be too worried about despite the severity of the injury.

At 29 years old, Taillon is reworking some of his fundamentals, incorporating more leg than arm when utilizing power. That could have an influential impact on his future health, as two Tommy John surgeries may attest to a lack of technique.

However, Jameson has only pitched 37.1 innings over the last two years, spending the last five seasons with the Pirates since 2016. His best campaign came in 2018, when he pitched 191 innings, earning a 3.20 ERA and 8.43 strikeouts per nine.

On Wednesday, Taillon featured in his first batting practice of the spring. He faced off against Aaron Judge, Clint Frazier, Aaron Hicks, and more, which is no easy task for a pitcher who hasn’t faced quality batters in two years.

“He started out a little slow and I really liked how he finished. I thought his stuff as he got going on got really crisp,” Boone said of Taillon.

Boone went on to say it was “another good step” for the former Pirate.

Where will the Yankees slot in Taillon?

Jameson is expected to slide into the third spot in the rotation, behind Gerrit Cole and Corey Kluber. Kluber, who is also taking positive strides with his rehabilitation, has pitched only 36 innings in two years, similar to the former Pirate. General manager Brian Cashman indicated that he did take a few risky moves this off-season, notably Kluber and Taillon, but if they do pan out, the Yankees could have one of the better starting rotations in baseball.

Having to replace three starters this off-season was no easy feat for Cashman, especially with ownership demanding he stay under the $210 million luxury tax threshold. Losing Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton, and JA Happ left massive voids in the rotation, but it seems as if Cashman has done a good job filling those empty slots. Tanaka is the only one of the three that might be severely missed.