The waiting didn't work, and now Jameson Taillon, the Pittsburgh Pirates and their fans will likely have to spend another year-plus anticipating the arrival of the most-prized pitching prospect.
The 22-year-old right-hander will undergo Tommy John surgery to repair an injured ulnar collateral ligament, the Pirates announced Sunday.
"After seeking a second opinion that confirmed the original diagnosis and not receiving relief from his symptoms despite a period of rest, the decision was made to seek additional opinions," the Pirates said in a press release. "Based on multiple medical opinions and recommendations, Jameson has elected to have Tommy John surgery."
Taillon was slated to begin the season with Triple-A Indianapolis, where he posted a 3.89 ERA in six starts to conclude the 2013 season.
The hurler reported discomfort in his elbow to the Pirates in late March, and Pittsburgh immediately shut the hurler down. After getting two opinions on the discomfort, Taillon and the team elected to rest and rehab the elbow.
The R&R plan was abandoned Sunday, as the team announced Taillon will undergo the surgery, with Dr. David Altcheck performing the surgery. The normal timetable for pitchers to return from Tommy John surgery is usually 12-to-18 months.
Pirates general manager Neal Huntington described the UCL as "compromised," according to Pittsburgh Post Gazette reporter Bill Brink.
"It's not ruptured," the GM said. "It's not fully torn. But it's not a completely healthy ligament."
The pitcher did his best to remain upbeat following the news, tweeting, "Thank you all for the well wishes and prayers. I'm really blessed to have so many people that genuinely care about me! Going to be stronger."
The Pirates were hoping to get Taillon into the Major Leagues at some point in 2014, anticipating the hurler could handle a full workload through the Minor and Major League seasons.
Selected second overall in the 2010 Draft, Taillon has been on among MLB.com's Top 20 overall prospects each year since the site began producing top prospect lists in 2011, ranking No. 16 on the 2014 Top 100 list.
Taillon threw 147 1/3 innings in 2013, managing a 3.73 ERA with 143 strikeouts and 52 walks between Double-A Altoona and Indianapolis.