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Taillon keeping things in perspective in spring

Special to MLB.com

FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Jameson Taillon made his first Grapefruit League start Sunday facing a Twins lineup that may look like the one they'll roll out on Opening Day. He went 2 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on two hits and a walk, throwing 48 pitches, as the Pirates beat the Twins, 9-3.

"The lineup was legit," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "He went out there with a plan. He used his four-seamer and his two-seamer, added his changeup to it, added and subtracted velocities, and he stayed aggressive throughout. So, I thought it was another solid outing for him."

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FORT MYERS, Fla. -- Right-hander Jameson Taillon made his first Grapefruit League start Sunday facing a Twins lineup that may look like the one they'll roll out on Opening Day. He went 2 2/3 innings, giving up two runs on two hits and a walk, throwing 48 pitches, as the Pirates beat the Twins, 9-3.

"The lineup was legit," said Pirates manager Clint Hurdle. "He went out there with a plan. He used his four-seamer and his two-seamer, added his changeup to it, added and subtracted velocities, and he stayed aggressive throughout. So, I thought it was another solid outing for him."

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The two hits Taillon allowed were both solid doubles by Twins leadoff hitter Brian Dozier.

In the first inning, a wild pitch to No. 2 hitter Joe Mauer moved up Dozier, who then scored on Mauer's sacrifice fly.

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With one out in the third, Taillon walked No. 9 hitter Mitch Garver, who went to third on Dozier's second double, and scored on Mauer's groundout, ending Taillon's outing.

"It felt good," Taillon said. "The game kind of lets you know what you need to work on and improve on. I thought I did a couple things really well, and a couple things I could do a little better, but overall it feels good.

"I thought I was filling it up pretty good with strikes, but I thought I was a little wild in the zone with my fastball. The other pitches felt good."

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It was Taillon's second Grapefruit League appearance, after two scoreless innings in relief with three strikeouts against the Red Sox on Feb. 26.

"Number one, just staying healthy, building up my innings," Taillon said of what he's working on now. "Number two, I'm just trying to kind of hone in on just making everything a little more crisp and sharp. The hitters let you know, so it's good to get in a game and get the feedback."

He has goals for the season, but primarily, he's looking forward to a full season of health, after being diagnosed and treated for testicular cancer last year.

"I can sit here and tell you 200 innings and 200 strikeouts and 20 wins, stay healthy and all that, but sometimes things get thrown at you," he said. "I had a bunch of goals last year, I was acted upon by something else that didn't let me get there. So, I'm just going to focus on doing me. I know what it takes to be a successful pitcher at the big league level. So, I'm just going to focus on what I need to do, and I think everything will be pretty good."

Taillon hit in the ninth spot against the Twins, singling to right field off starter Jose Berrios in the third. Not getting thrown out at first base from right field was another goal, Taillon joked.

Video: PIT@MIN: Taillon shows off at the plate with a single

"It's fun," he said of spring at-bats. "That's just a different part of the game. I don't go up there expecting much, but it's fun to get up there. When you're a kid, you hit, you pitched, you played all the positions. So, it's fun for me to kind of get out there and do something different and break up the monotony. I don't run the bases much because I don't get on base all that much, but it was fun to be out there and chat with some of the other guys, just be a part of an actual baseball game for a bit."

Maureen Mullen is a contributor to MLB.com.

Pittsburgh Pirates, Jameson Taillon