First Call: Jameson Taillon starts road to recovery; Ivan Nova helps Pirates |
Breakfast With Benz

First Call: Jameson Taillon starts road to recovery; Ivan Nova helps Pirates

Tim Benz
Christopher Horner | Tribune-Review
The Pirates placed pitcher Jameson Taillon on the injured list in May.

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.

Baby steps

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.”

Tim Benz is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Tim at [email protected] or via Twitter. All tweets could be reposted. All emails are subject to publication unless specified otherwise.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.