TAMPA — Jameson Taillon is ahead.
When he tore the tendon in his right ankle, requiring surgery to repair it, the initial expectation was that he wouldn’t be ready until May. However, the right-handed pitcher said Tuesday that he believes he is on track to break camp for Opening Day.
“They gave me a schedule, but this is not a very common throwing injury, so they told me to work with us and kept my arm moving the entire time. I think that helps,” Taillon said. “I was throwing weighted balls like sitting down and stuff, even when I was at weight with no load. [period of rehab]. So I felt like my buildup wasn’t as long as I thought it would be. And then honestly, like with the lockout, part of it was just getting into my own schedule at some point, and I feel like that put me in a pretty good spot.”
That would be a big help for the Yankees. With the lockout condensing spring training, there is a lot of concern about an increase in pitching injuries, such as in 2020 after the coronavirus brought spring training to a halt. The Yankees already have Domingo Germán dealing with shoulder problems and he is not expected to start the season on time.
Taillon, coming off his second Tommy John surgery last season, surprised even the Yankees when he made 29 starts and pitched 144 innings in 2021. It was a bit confusing after he finished with a 4.30 ERA and 1,206 WHIP.
The 30-year-old, who will be a free agent after this season, said he feels stronger this spring than he did a year ago.
“I feel much healthier than last year. Last year, I was still feeling a little bit in rehab, I was trying to figure out the path of my arm and my mechanics this year. Now I feel much more natural,” said Taillon.
ANDUJAR FOCUSED ON THE FIELD
Just weeks after he was beaten and robbed at gunpoint on his farm in the Dominican Republic, Miguel Andújar was trying to forget the terrifying experience.
“Yeah, definitely a tough situation there,” Andujar said through Yankees interpreter Marlon Abreu. “What can you say when you go through something like that, but at the same time I’m fine, I’m healthy and thank God that everything went well.”
Andujar, who was a 2018 Rookie of the Year finalist, has struggled to find his way on the field in recent years. A shoulder injury cost him the starting third base job in 2019 and the Yankees have had him working the outfield and first base ever since. He has never found a place to get regular at-bats.
This spring, he said the Yankees asked him to move around and take reps at first, third and in the outfield. Andujar played just 45 games last season and slashed .253/.284/.383.
SEVERINO AT THE FIRST
Luis Severino pitched two simulated innings of live batting practice Tuesday, facing Aaron Judge, Joey Gallo and Josh Donaldson.
Severino has pitched just 27 2/3 innings since suffering a shoulder injury in spring training in 2019, which was followed by needing Tommy John surgery in 2020. Aaron Boone would not say if there would be an inning limit on the former candidate. to the Cy Young, but with his lack of work and injury history they have to find ways to manage the stress on his arm.
That won’t include using him in relief, at least to start the season.
“Now I see him as a starter,” the Yankees manager said. “Look, as the year goes on, you’re getting to a certain volume point and it looks like we’re getting into an area where we might have a danger zone or whatever. We can always tweak and adjust and obviously that’s something he’s done, but as of now, there are no plans for that. We are looking forward to having him in our rotation. And being a guy we should be very excited to hand the ball over to every five days.”