#MLBPlayers411 | Jameson Taillon
Pittsburgh Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon (TAY-own), today's #MLBPlayers411 subject, was just three starts into his mission to build off a solid rookie campaign when he was diagnosed with testicular cancer.
But thanks to good medical care, a strong support system and a competitive nature the 25-year-old right-hander's quest was only put on hold for a little over a month. Jameson returned to the mound on Monday June 12, giving up just five hits and no runs over five strong innings in a 7-2 win over the Rockies. He threw 82 pitches and hit 97 mph multiple times to put an exclamation point on his return.
“I've had a lot of time to think," Taillon told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette before his comeback performance. “It's pretty natural to ask something like, ‘Why me?' Almost in a selfish way. ‘Why did this have to happen to me? Other stuff has happened too. I deserve a break.' But life doesn't really care what's happened to you.”
So the second overall pick in the 2010 draft became determined to confront and battle the disease rather than feel sorry for himself.
“Today I lost a piece of my ‘manhood,'” Jameson shared on Twitter around the time of diagnosis. “But, today I'm feeling more like a man than I ever have.”
The support he received from teammates and fellow players throughout the ordeal helped his morale as well as his resolve.
“Good to see Jameson back out there,” Josh Harrison said. “Good team win. Good team effort all-around.”
Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis, who is also recovering from testicular cancer, was inspired by Jameson's performance.
“I guess it was meant to be for me to be here to see his first start back,” Bettis said. “It's a very positive step forward for him and I'm very happy.”
On his road to recovery, Jameson also realized he wants to join the cause to help others fight testicular cancer and raise awareness.
“I want to be involved somehow,” he said. “It's part of my identity now. I've been given a platform. I don't think guys are nearly aware enough as they should be, so I'll find a way to speak out and be an advocate for early detection. I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to do that yet, but I'll find a way.”
Although he was born in Lakeland, Fla., Jameson grew up and went to high school in The Woodlands, Texas, where he caught the eyes of the Pirates after tossing a 19-strikeout, no-hitter his senior year.
His cancer wasn't the first time Jameson's career was put on hold. He missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery and sat out the 2015 campaign due to a sports hernia.
Returning to Triple-A Indianapolis to begin his comeback in 2016, “Jamo” went 4–2 with a 2.04 ERA, and 61 strikeouts in 61.2 innings, to earn his first big-league start. On June 8, 2016 Jameson allowed three runs on six hits and struck out three batters over six innings of work against the Mets. Jameson would pitch against the Mets six days later, carrying a no-hitter into the seventh inning, to earn his first big-league win
“This kid's poured into everything he's done,” manager Clint Hurdle said following Jameson's debut. “It's been a great fight back.”
A dual citizen of the United States and Canada, where both of his parents are from, Jameson became the youngest member of Canada's 2013 World Baseball Classic team, at age 21.
Being of Canadian descent has led to a lot of speculation over the pronunciation of Jameson's last name.
Jameson doesn't mind if you use the proper French-Canadian version of “TAY-own” or the Americanized version of “Tallen,” which he has become accustomed to living and playing baseball in the U.S.
“Tallen is a lot easier,” Jameson said back in 2009.
Check out some photos of Jameson here.
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