Pirates prospect Taillon promoted to Triple-A
Jameson Taillon could be on Gerrit Cole's timetable to the majors, meaning the No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 draft might be pitching at PNC Park next June.
The Pirates' top pitching prospect was promoted to Triple-A on Friday. Taillon is expected to join the Indianapolis roster Monday.
Cole was promoted from Double-A to Triple-A in late August last year. Cole began the 2013 season in Indianapolis before being called up to Pittsburgh in early June.
“We had been talking about moving Taillon for a while now, and the timing lined up with him coming back from a stiff neck and pitching well,” Pirates assistant general manager Kyle Stark wrote in an email. “He has developed the changeup, continued to refine his delivery and is now ready for the challenge of more advanced hitters.”
Taillon was rated as the game's No. 11 prospect in Baseball America's midseason top 50 rankings. The 6-foot-7 right-hander was 4-7 with a 3.67 ERA with Double-A Altoona.
Wrote Baseball America: “The arrival of Gerrit Cole gives Pirates one future frontline starter; Taillon isn't far behind.”
In 110 1⁄3 innings at Double-A, Taillon allowed 112 hits and 36 walks while striking out 106.
Taillon has posted inconsistent numbers in Double-A, but evaluators rate his ceiling as being that of a potential ace as Taillon throws a 93-97 mph fastball and sharp curveball. His command requires refinement.
Hughes recalled, Black sent down
The Pirates bolstered their bullpen by recalling Jared Hughes from Triple-A on Friday, sending rookie Vic Black back to Indy.
Hughes was rehabbing a shoulder injury, throwing eight shutout innings since July 14 in Triple-A. Black had been hit hard in his brief time with the Pirates.
Pirates manager Clint Hurdle said reports from Indy indicated Hughes has regained life on his two-seam fastball.
“Hughes has met the challenges that we wanted him to go through,” Hurdle said. “He's pitched two innings a couple of times. He's pitched back-to-back days. The quality of the pitches has been very consistent. He's maintained velocity. The slider has become a useable pitch. … And we needed to revisit and restock the bullpen.”
Hughes said he is pain free and has been throwing without issue.
Rehabbing Pirates left-hander Wandy Rodriguez threw prior to Friday's game.
“It was a long-distance conversation,” Hurdle said. “He gave me a big thumbs up.”
No plan has been announced for when Rodriguez might begin to throw from the mound. The Pirates did not make a deal to add pitching depth at the trade deadline, so a return to the mound for Rodriguez could be a critical late-season addition.
Rodriguez told reporters Thursday that he would return “soon.” Rodriguez has not pitched since injuring his left elbow June 5.
Pirates set TV ratings record
The second game of Tuesday's doubleheader against the Cardinals set a local market television viewership record for a Pirates game, as 511,000 tuned to Root Sports, according to the network.
The 16.3 rating was not only a club record but also the highest rated major league regional telecast in any market over the past two years, a Pirates official said.
All five games of the series finished in the top 10 in viewership in the history of Pirates cable telecasts, according to records dating to 1994.
“We were hooting and hollering in the clubhouse in Indianapolis. We were all going nuts,” said Hughes, on watching the Cardinals-Pirates series from the Triple-A club.
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