Taillon has great time in first spring start

BRADENTON, Fla. -- Jameson Taillon's experience in his first big league camp reached a new peak on Thursday, with his start for the Pirates in the 16-6 Grapefruit League loss to Boston.

The right-hander, the Bucs' No. 1 choice in the 2010 First-Year Player Draft and their No. 2 pitching prospect behind Gerrit Cole, had little to do with that ugly score and the ugliness that forged it. In his two innings, he allowed only the first of the 15 walks by Pirates pitchers, and one hit along with one unearned run, while fanning three.

He had a far better time than the pitchers who followed.

"I was a little amped up at the beginning, like any normal person would be, since it was my first big league camp start," Taillon said. "But once I threw that first pitch and settled in, I had a really great time out there."

It very likely was Taillon's only Grapefruit League exposure. On Sunday, he will leave to hook up with Team Canada for the World Baseball Classic, and is due to pitch only a bullpen prior to that. And even if Canada is not one of the two countries to survive Pool D play in Phoenix, when Taillon returns he could be re-assigned to the Minor League camp.

The Florida-born and Texas-raised right-hander is looking forward to his Classic adventure. "Turncoat" Taillon is due to face the United States on March 10.

"I'm really excited. It'll be a cool deal for me and my family," Taillon said. "The whole family is going out there, including some siblings I don't always get to see, and my brother (Jordan, 30) will be having his birthday while we're there. But from a baseball standpoint it'll be really exciting, too."