Jameson Taillon wants to be an advocate for early detection of testicular cancerMay 19, 2017 11:16pm

May 19-- Though some blood work remains, no news was good news when Pirates pitcher Jameson Taillon addressed the media Friday for the first time since having surgery for testicular cancer May 8.

Taillon revealed that he discovered the cancer in his hotel room the night before his most recent start in Cincinnati, which took place May 3.

"I just felt something that was odd," Taillon said.

One of the Pirates' most promising young players, Taillon went on the disabled list May 6 and had surgery two days later for suspected testicular cancer. That suspicion was confirmed Wednesday, when Pirates head athletic trainer Todd Tomczyk revealed that the pathology report from Taillon's surgery came back positive for testicular cancer.

"It happened fast," Taillon said. "It happened within two days of even feeling anything. One of our doctors pulled me into a conference room, and I felt like I was in a movie or something. I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience."

Taillon said that his doctor told him it was probably the earliest case he had seen caught in a long time. He said that the operation involved no muscle and he was walking around the day of. He plans to be an advocate for early detection going forward, and he added that he has resumed baseball activities.

"I want to be involved somehow," Taillon said. "It's part of my identity now. I've been given a platform. I don't think guys are nearly aware enough as they should be, so I'll find a way to speak out and be an advocate for early detection. I'm not sure exactly how I'm going to do that yet, but I'll find a way."

He also said that a number of current and former athletes have reached out to him, including former Pirates outfielder Andrew Lambo, former Philadelphia Phillies first baseman John Kruk, Colorado Rockies pitcher Chad Bettis and cyclist Lance Armstrong. Taillon's teammates said the pitcher has reacted to the whole situation with poise.

"When it first happened, obviously it's a shock to anybody," said Chad Kuhl, Taillon's roommate. "He kind of wanted to be alone, so we all kind of respected his wishes and his privacy. But I think he's handled it better than any of us could ever dream about handling something like that.

"He's been battle-tested. He was built for it, 100 percent."

Setbacks are nothing new for Taillon. After being the No. 2 overall draft pick in 2010, he missed the 2014 and 2015 seasons due to Tommy John ligament-replacement surgery and a sports-hernia surgery, respectively. Last season, he was hit in the head by a 105 mph line drive.

This setback, though, is markedly different.

"The word cancer is scary," Taillon said. "That's the first thing that jumps out to me. For my family it was a little different. When they hear you have to go through an elbow surgery, it sucks, but there's not going to be a lot of people who feel sorry for you when you're undergoing an elbow surgery and you're a professional baseball player. But when you have the word cancer involved, it adds a whole other dimension."

Prior to his surgery, Taillon looked to be on the path to a strong campaign. He has compiled a 3.31 ERA and 30 strikeouts in six starts in 2017, giving up two or fewer earned runs in four of those starts.

Taillon said Friday he did not know when he would return to the mound-he's just playing catch right now-but added he would know more when he got more test results back.

"(Pirates manager) Clint (Hurdle) talks a lot about how you have three bad hops, and I'm hoping this is my third one," Taillon said. "I've heard a lot of bumps in the road comments too. I'm hoping there's no more bumps in the road going forward."


Bill Brink contributed.


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