Jameson Taillon ready to return five weeks after testicular cancer surgery

Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon is ready to return following his testicular cancer diagnosis. (AP)

Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon is ready to return to the big leagues. The 25-year-old right-hander was announced as the Pirates starting pitcher Monday in Colorado, which will come five weeks to the day after Taillon underwent surgery for suspected testicular cancer. That diagnosis was confirmed a few days later.

Taillon made three rehab starts, throwing a combined 14 innings for Double-A Altoona and Triple-A Indianapolis. Taillon tossed three scoreless innings, striking out six for Altoona on May 28. In subsequent starts for Indianapolis, Taillon allowed five earned runs while striking out 15.

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It wasn’t so much about the numbers though as it was Taillon getting back into a groove. The Pirates feel he’s more than ready to take the next big step, as does Taillon.

Taillon has been overwhelmed by the support he’s received from Pirates fans and from players around the league. He’s been in contact with Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis, who was diagnosed with testicular cancer last fall. Bettis recently completed a three-month cycle of chemotherapy and hopes to be back in Colorado’s rotation by the All-Star break.

He also says he’s heard from cancer survivors Lance Armstrong and John Kruk, who shared experiences from their respective battles.

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Taillon’s return is expected to provide a nice boost to the Pirates. In six starts earlier this season, he posted a 3.31 ERA while striking out 30 over 35 1/3 innings.

It’s a little ironic, too, that Taillon’s return start falls on the night of the 2017 draft. The Pirates had high hopes when they selected Taillon No. 2 overall in the 2010 draft. Those high hopes remain now, though they must come with a renewed perspective following his unexpected health issues.

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Mark Townsend is a writer for Big League Stew on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at bigleaguestew@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!