When Jameson Taillon took the field at Yankee Stadium on Wednesday night, the righthander looked around the ballpark, taking it all in.
Taillon wasn't just making his Yankees debut. He was pitching in a big-league game for the first time since May 1, 2019.
His first outing since his second Tommy John surgery had its highs and lows, but Taillon showed flashes of the dominant stuff that he showcased with the Pirates earlier in his career. It's why New York shipped four prospects to Pittsburgh this offseason to acquire him.
The 29-year-old allowed just two runs on three hits over 4 2/3 innings of work while striking out seven. The Yankees came back in the eighth inning to tie the game, but fell in 11 innings to the Orioles, 4–3.
Taillon's first trip through Baltimore's order was perfect, starting with a strikeout of center fielder Cedric Mullins. But he ran into trouble in the fourth, when Mullins pounced on a hanging changeup and sent a solo shot deep into the right-field bleachers.
Two batters later, Taillon left a fastball over the plate and right fielder Anthony Santander deposited it into the Yankees bullpen.
Two homers aside, the Yankees couldn't have asked for much more from Taillon this early in the season. He threw 74 pitches, continuing to ramp up after four appearances in Grapefruit League play this spring.
Remember, Taillon didn't throw a single pitch in 2020, working back from his second procedure to repair the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow. Topping out at 95 mph on Wednesday night, Taillon's fastball averaged 93.3 mph on 31 heaters. That's just over a tick below his average of 94.7 in 2019 before the surgery.