Over 700 days. That’s how long it’s been since New York Yankees pitcher Jameson Taillon appeared in an MLB game.
He battled testicular cancer. He underwent a second Tommy John surgery. He was stuck in the downtrodden Pittsburgh Pirates organization.
But on April 7, 2021, he made his debut for the Yankees after they traded for him in the offseason. It wasn’t electrifying by any means, but nobody expected that.
Fans just wanted to see him go out there, establish a rhythm, find his bearings, and get to work. And he did.
He touched 95 with his fastball. His off-speed stuff was on point. Two mistakes resulted in two solo homers, but that’s something the coaching staff can help him through.
Once again, Jame-o battled with those 74 pitches in four-plus innings, but he didn’t walk a batter and allowed just three hits. Those seven strikeouts look pretty good, too. That just shows his arsenal was further along than many may have thought. He retired the first nine batters of the game!
If he can work his velocity back up a bit, his curveball and changeup will be even more lethal, which is encouraging since those pitches were almost untouchable on Wednesday night.
The right-hander got a much-deserved ovation from the crowd when he was removed from the game. He only provided more hope for this starting rotation, which has looked better than anyone could’ve ever imagined at the onset of 2021.
From guys like Taillon, Corey Kluber and Domingo German, all of whom haven’t pitched since 2019 at the earliest, to Jordan Montgomery, who has only seen 18 games since the start of 2018, to Gerrit Cole, who didn’t get his usual workload in 2020 due to the shortened season, it was assumed this unit would be the last to come around for the Yankees.
Aside from German’s dud on Sunday, everyone else has looked tremendous, good or serviceable. And that’s already worlds better than the rotations we’ve seen come through the Bronx in recent years.
Jameson Taillon was long viewed as an integral missing piece that would stabilize the rotation down the stretch and in the postseason. So far, so good. And it’s only the beginning.