First Call: Jameson Taillon starts road to recovery; Ivan Nova helps Pirates
In “First Call” Monday, Jameson Taillon starts his road to recovery. Ivan Nova helps the Pirates. Charlie Morton continues to shine. And the home run contest may have gotten a little easier for Josh Bell.
Pirates starter Jameson Taillon ended up playing catch at PNC Park before the All-Star break after all.
AT&T SportsNet showed video of his light tossing session as pitching coach Ray Searage watched.
The Pirates right-hander has been out since early May with a flexor tendon strain in his right elbow.
There had been hope he may be able to pass this initial test a few days ago, but it didn’t happen. The plan had been for Taillon to throw Thursday before the Cubs series ended. But that was pushed back.
Now, though, Taillon has at least taken this step before the first half of the season ended.
Nothing vs. Nova
Former Pirate Ivan Nova gave a little help to his old club yesterday.
The White Sox right-hander shut out the Cubs for 5 2/3 innings Sunday.
Nova pitched around five hits and one walk, striking out four in a 3-1 victory. He got a sweet play from Yolmer Sanchez off a fluke bounce.
Alexa, play "Sweet Georgia Brown." pic.twitter.com/bJPtPseDtC
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) July 7, 2019
The teams split the weekend battle of Chicago.
So, in the National League Central, the Cubs (47-43) hold a half-game lead on the Brewers (47-44) going into the All-Star break.
The Pirates (44-45) sit 2 1/2 back in fourth place. The five teams in the division are separated by just 4 1/2 games.
The Pirates start the second half of the season in Chicago.
No derby for Yelich
Not only did Christian Yelich stay on the bench Sunday during Milwaukee’s game at PNC Park, but he also won’t participate in the Home Run Derby.
Yelich’s status for the All-Star Game Tuesday in Cleveland is unclear. The reigning National League MVP has been dealing with back spasms.
Brewers manager Craig Counsell said Yelich’s absence Sunday “wasn’t due to injury, but because the team ‘felt we were at the red line with him’ from a workload standpoint,” according to ESPN.
Wow. That’s Mike Tomlin-esque wordplay there. Apparently, there’s a “red line” through his name in the home run contest as a result, too.
Oakland’s Matt Chapman will replace Yelich, who leads the majors with 31 homers. Chapman has 21. Chapman’s dad will pitch to him during the contest.
That’s why he’s an All-Star
Another former Pirates pitcher, Charlie Morton, continued his All-Star season Sunday.
He racked up 10 strikeouts en route to a 2-1 win over the Yankees.
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) July 7, 2019
Morton leads the American League with a 2.32 ERA and the Rays’ staff with a 10-2 record and 142 strikeouts.
The Rays and Yankees split their four-game weekend series to wrap up the first half. New York goes into the break 6 1/2 games up on Tampa Bay. But the Rays are 52-39, good for the top wild-card spot in the American League.
I feel the earth move under my feet
Want to know what a 7.1-magnitude earthquake looks like? Check out this feed from the Padres-Dodgers game over the weekend.
— San Diego Padres (@Padres) July 6, 2019
It’s obvious the players must have been far less aware of the quake at ground level than those up on that center field camera platform or those up in the stands.
Los Angeles manager Dave Roberts seemed to express that same opinion.
Dave Roberts on the earthquake that hit Dodger Stadium pic.twitter.com/7PlaAAOLE9
— Gilbert Manzano (@GManzano24) July 6, 2019
According to the Los Angeles Times, Friday’s quake was the largest in Southern California since 1999. But the paper reported that “it didn’t cause any notable damage in the Los Angeles area.”