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Taillon (forearm) unlikely to return this season

@adamdberry
July 24, 2019

PITTSBURGH -- Opening Day starter Jameson Taillon’s season is likely over. The right-hander experienced recurrent right forearm discomfort while playing catch from 90 feet, Pirates director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said, and he has been shut down from throwing. The Pirates hope to have Taillon meet next week with

PITTSBURGH -- Opening Day starter Jameson Taillon’s season is likely over. The right-hander experienced recurrent right forearm discomfort while playing catch from 90 feet, Pirates director of sports medicine Todd Tomczyk said, and he has been shut down from throwing.

The Pirates hope to have Taillon meet next week with Dr. David Altchek, who performed Taillon’s Tommy John surgery in 2014. Asked if surgery was the next step, Tomczyk said that will be a group decision only if it is deemed necessary by Altchek.

“I believe that this has run its course of conservative care,” Tomczyk said. “It’s been almost 3 1/2 months, and unfortunately we came to the same result. We have to get him back to the expert, the surgeon, and see what’s next.”

Taillon hasn’t pitched since May 1, when the pain in his right forearm and elbow affected his pitch selection in a 6 1/3-inning start against the Rangers. He recently resumed throwing after an extended rest and recovery period, but Tomczyk said Taillon felt similar discomfort in his forearm within the past three or four days.

Taillon remains on the 60-day injured list, officially with a right elbow flexor tendon strain. Coming off a breakout season in 2018, Taillon has posted a 4.10 ERA in 37 1/3 innings over seven starts this year.

Polanco update
Right fielder Gregory Polanco met earlier this week with Altchek, who confirmed the Pirates’ diagnosis of posterior left shoulder discomfort, Tomczyk said. Doctors have recommended that Polanco be shut down from throwing and hitting while receiving a course of anti-inflammatory treatment.

During his seven- to 10-day period of rest, Polanco will still be able to work on his shoulder mobility and range of motion, with an eye on returning at some point later this season. Tomczyk said Polanco’s shoulder was deemed structurally “strong” and “stable,” but Polanco is still not at 100 percent as a result of the surgery he underwent last September.

“He wants to get out there. He loves playing baseball. But there’s a balance,” Tomczyk said. “I think he wants to give this rehab course a try and see if he can resume playing for the rest of this year.”

Polanco returned earlier than most expected this season, making his debut on April 22. He played well at first, but the shoulder discomfort eventually compromised his swing. Polanco hasn’t played for the Pirates since June 16. He played eight games during a rehab assignment with Triple-A Indianapolis from July 4-14, but continued soreness forced him to the sidelines again.

Good news for Cervelli
Catcher Francisco Cervelli, out since May 25 due to concussion symptoms, has been cleared to resume “light catching activities,” Tomczyk said. Cervelli’s symptoms continue to dissipate, Tomczyk said, and the 33-year-old backstop has made “tremendous progress” in his recovery.

Cervelli has not been cleared to play in games, and Tomczyk noted that his return to full-scale catching will take time. First, Tomczyk said, the Pirates essentially have to re-train his vestibular system with a series of drills. He will begin by fielding bunts from the catcher’s position, turning and throwing to first base. Then comes catching pitches from a machine, then from a pitcher, then with a batter in the box.

Cervelli, who is in the final year of his contract with the Pirates, was transferred to the 60-day injured list on Wednesday to clear a spot on the 40-man roster for Keone Kela’s return. It’s unclear if he will be able to play again this season, but he has continued to work out at other positions while taking regular batting practice. Regardless, this latest development is undoubtedly a welcome one for Cervelli and Pittsburgh’s training staff.

“It’s never affected his daily life with his friends or his family. Obviously it’s affected his skill set and his passion, and that’s playing baseball,” Tomczyk said. “This is encouraging news … that he’s feeling better, that he’s feeling like he can go out and be him a little bit.”

Trainer’s room
• Left-hander Steven Brault (shoulder strain) threw another bullpen session on Wednesday at PNC Park. He is on schedule to pitch a simulated game this weekend at the Mets' Citi Field.

• Right-hander Rookie Davis (forearm) is throwing bullpen sessions in Bradenton, Fla. He will throw a couple more side sessions before progressing to live batting practice and, eventually, game activity.

• Right-handers Chad Kuhl and Edgar Santana, both out for the year following Tommy John surgery, are experiencing no issues as they continue to throw bullpen sessions in Bradenton, Tomczyk said.

• The Pirates on Wednesday placed reliever Clay Holmes on the 10-day injured list due to right triceps inflammation. Holmes last pitched on Monday, when he gave up a grand slam to Paul Goldschmidt in the 10th inning of Pittsburgh’s 6-5 loss to St. Louis at PNC Park.

Adam Berry covers the Rays for MLB.com and covered the Pirates from 2015-21. Follow him on Twitter @adamdberry.