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Jameson Taillon unlikely to be ready for start of season

MESA, Ariz. — Chicago Cubs manager Craig Counsell acknowledged the reality facing right-hander Jameson Taillon on Tuesday.

Counsell said it’s “fair to say” Taillon’s lingering lower back strain makes opening day unlikely, which leaves the veteran starting the season on the 15-day injured list. Players can get a three-day backdate on the IL to start the year.

“You kind of make a decision, like whether or not he can make the first rotation (via conversion), otherwise you have to go (on the IL) and a first rotation is unlikely at this point.” Counsell said.

The program is working against Taillon to properly prepare for the season that begins March 28. Taillon did not pitch in a Cactus League game and last faced hitters in a simulated game in the backfield on March 4.

Counsell stated that the imaging revealed nothing and Taillon’s original diagnosis remains valid. But until he throws a bullpen, the Cubs don’t have a clear timeline for when Taillon could join the rotation. It was scheduled to light up on Tuesday.

“That depends on a lot of the days we don’t pitch,” Counsell said. “… The reality is that we need to get into game action at least four times every five days to prepare you as a starter.”

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