Jameson Taillon's second stint at big league camp ended Monday when Pittsburgh reassigned its top pitching prospect to Minor League camp.
"It's never fun, but I gotta go and get my innings and get ready for an actual season," the right-hander told MLB.com. "The reality is, I need to start getting built up. And the closer you get to the season, guys here are going to start going five or more, so I can't get built up going one or two [innings in relief]."
MLB.com's No. 16 overall prospect made two appearances this spring, earning a 3.38 ERA in 2 2/3 innings. He is currently dealing with a blister on his pitching hand that will delay his next start.
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington said while Taillon will start the season in the Minors, the club is aiming to call the 6-foot-6 pitcher up sometime this summer.
"The goal is putting him in a position to thrive when he gets to the Major League level," Huntington told MLB.com. "To do that, the changeup will be important for him. So will adding to and subtracting from the curve, commanding different quadrants of the zone with his four-seamer and live down with his two-seamer. It's all coming."
For Triple-A Indianapolis last season, Taillon went 5-10 with a 3.73 ERA in 25 starts. Prior to the season, the Florida native allowed a hit and a run over two innings his only appearance at big league Spring Training
"Being around these guys, I got to soak up just how hard they work," Taillon told MLB.com. "I thought my work up here was good. I felt all right. I'm a little ahead of where I was last year, and feeling better, so that's a good thing."
Catcher Carlos Paulino and Matt Hague also were reassigned to Minor League camp while right-hander Casey Sadler was sent to Triple-A Indianapolis, and southpaw Joely Rodriguez and infielder Alen Hanson were optioned to Double-A Altoona. After Monday's moves, there are 53 players in Pirates camp, including 16 non-roster invitees.
"Guys we project as starters in the Minor Leagues are always quickest to get sent out, because we need to get them to throwing 90-100 pitches when their seasons start," Huntington told MLB.com.
Rodriguez threw three hitless innings over two appearances while Sadler pitched two shutout innings in his only appearance, allowing just one hit while striking out three.
"None of them did anything wrong," Huntington told MLB.com. "As we start to get four, five innings from our starters, and with a good number of guys competing for the bullpen, it would've been tough to find them innings here, to stretch them out."