Dec 7, 2015; Nashville, TN, USA; New York Yankees logo during the MLB winter meetings at Gaylord Opryland Resort . Mandatory Credit: Jim Brown-USA TODAY Sports

Taillon hopes to fit in with Yankees

There’s not much that can phase pitcher Jameson Taillon.

He survived a battle with cancer in 2017. Then, the Pirates’ righthander underwent his second Tommy John surgery, forcing him to miss the entire 2020 season.

He was then traded on Jan. 24 from Pittsburgh to the Yankees. Taillon met with the media on Friday to preview the upcoming season.

Wearing pinstripes for the first time

The first thing Taillon did after arriving at the New York clubhouse Thursday was snap a photo of him sporting the famous pinstripes.

“The Yankee pinstripes are special,” he said on a Zoom call Friday. “Every sports fan knows what the Yankee pinstripes mean.”

He’s hoping he’ll find his footing with his new organization after his four seasons in the big leagues has been marred by injuries.

Spring Training

However, he will finally go into Spring Training with a clean bill of health.

“I love this game and I love pitching,” Taillon said. “So just being healthy, that had me excited all offseason, regardless of where I was going to be. Then I got traded to New York, and that just lit a new fire under me.”

The Yankees expect Corey Kluber and Taillon to provide much-needed depth behind their ace Gerrit Cole.

However, the former No. 2 overall pick in 2010 feels like he still hasn’t lived up to his billing.

His best season as a Pirate came in 2018 when he won 14 games and posted a career-best 3.22 ERA in 191 innings pitched. His next best season was in 2016 as a rookie. He had 18 starts, accumulating a 5-4 record, a 3.38 ERA in 104 innings.

He said his potential as a prospect is what inspired him to get up in the morning when he was rehabbing.

Reuniting with Cole

Cole and Taillon both pitched for the Pirates in 2016 and 2017.

Cole said that Yankees manager Aaron Boone asked him about Taillon before they engaged in trade discussions with the Pirates. Cole gave Boone a glowing review of his former teammate.

“I told them, ‘If you are going to bet on somebody, if you are going to go to battle with someone, that Jameson is the guy you want next to you’,” he told the New York Post. “He is not fazed. He always makes people around him better. He is one of the most resilient people I have ever known.”

Taillon is stoked to reunite with his former teammate.

“We used to dream of coming up through the Pirates’ system together and doing some great things,” he told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. “Unfortunately, we never completely hit our stride together. We had some great moments, but we developed a real friendship and connection.”

They now hope they can form some great memories as members of the Yankee

About Zachary Huber

Zachary Huber is a senior journalism student specializing in sports media at the University of Florida from Jacksonville, Florida. He works at The Alligator, covering gymnastics and volleyball while working at ESPN Gainesville. Follow him on Twitter @zacharyahuber.

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