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Thursday July 31 2014
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In The Dugout with Jameson Taillon

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Pitcher Jameson Taillon, the Pirates No. 1 pick in 2010, just completed his second professional season. After the season, Taillon talked about his maturation as a professional pitcher.

The 20-year-old right-hander spend most of 2012 with the single-A Bradenton Marauders, where he went 6-8 with a 3.82 in 23 starts. He received a late-season call-up to double-A Altoona, where he dominated over three starts. Taillon struck out 18 and walked just one in 17 innings, posting a 3-0 record and a 1.59 ERA.


Q: Talk about your season in Bradenton.
A:
It was a good year. Some ups and downs, a lot of learning points. I came away from there a better person, I learned a lot about myself and I think I took a big step forward.


Q: How did you get the call when you got promoted to double-A in August?
A:
We were just sitting around after our game in Port Charlotte, I was charting in the stands that night and we had our postgame team meeting. At the end, our manager Carlos Garcia kind of announced it in front of everybody and then he called me into his office and gave me the details. It was pretty cool.


Q: You were reunited with Gerritt Cole (Pirates first-round pick in 2011) for a short time in Altoona before he got called up to triple-A. How was that?
A:
It’s good. We’re both two guys going through similar things and we’re both at similar points in our careers. He’s a great guy to talk to about that stuff – pitching and other stuff. He’s a good friend, good guy, good friend to have around here. We were roommates and throwing partners again, so it was good.


Q: What was your plan to attack your first experience at double-A?
A:
I decided I was going to go at them the way I normally go after hitters and see what happens from there. From what I can tell after being here just a short time, I can tell that hitters don’t miss mistakes. So pitch to the corners, mix it up, use my change-up a lot, see what they give me and react from there. Honestly, when I came up, I really did not set expectations for myself. I kind of just came in and had an open mind and wanted to learn and soak it up.


Q: You were also reunited with your pitching coach from last season in Jeff Johnson. How does that feel to work with someone you were used to working with before?
A:
It feels good. It made the transition a little easier but this transition was already pretty easy because I knew the majority of the guys coming in. They’re all great guys but JJ is a good pitching coach. He knows his stuff. He has some fun with it and he’s a big help for me.


Q: You’ve got a great curveball and fastball, but you’ve been working to throw your off-speed pitches more. Can you talk about the development of your change-up?
Photo courtesy of the Pittsburgh PiratesA:
Whenever I can put my curveball over for a strike and throw it with some good conviction, that makes my fastball play up a lot. I throw hard, but if you're not getting anything else over, they can just sit on it. Whenever (the change-up) is going over for strikes and I'm using it with good arm speed, [it's] just showing them something different, showing it to them down and giving them a different look.


Q: Can you assess your development this season?
A:
I’m just a more complete pitcher than I was earlier in the year. Going into the year I was kind of raw. I had good stuff but I wasn’t really into the whole, pitchabilitiy type deal. Setting up hitters, how to read hitters, checking out their reactions and what they give me. I have come a long way with that this year.

I was in a minor league press box in Charlotte, NC, last month, taking in one of Gregory Polanco’s final triple-A games. A colleague, upon learning I was from Pittsburgh, approached me with a question.
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