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Jameson Taillon will make his first start on Monday following testicular cancer surgery

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It’s been nearly five weeks since Pirates’ right-hander Jameson Taillon underwent surgery for testicular cancer. While the news came as a shock to both Taillon and the Pirates’ organization, the 25-year-old righty appears to have made a full and rapid recovery after several weeks of treatment and rehab outings. The club activated him from the disabled list on Saturday and is expected to play him when the Rockies come to town for a three-game set on Monday.

Taillon is in his sophomore season with the Pirates and tossed 35 1/3 innings with a 3.31 ERA, 3.3 BB/9 and 7.6 SO/9 before hitting the disabled list. He was treated for suspected testicular cancer in early May, a diagnosis that was confirmed when his pathology report came back positive for cancer the following week. Over the last month, he was cleared to resume baseball activities and has pitched through 14 innings with 13 hits, six runs and 21 strikeouts over three rehab starts in Triple-A Indianapolis and Double-A Altoona.

Prior to the Pirates’ matinee on Saturday, Taillon spoke to the media about his upcoming start, telling reporters, “I really want to be a pitcher again. [I] just want to be a guy on the team, making starts and doing my job.” His full comments are below:

Fellow right-hander Tyler Glasnow has been optioned to Triple-A Indianapolis to clear roster space for Taillon. Glasnow went 1-5 in Taillon’s absence, pitching to an 8.56 ERA with 42 hits, 29 runs and 22 strikeouts in six starts.

Rob Manfred says Tampa Bay must pick up pace on new stadium

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ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. (AP) Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred wants Tampa Bay to work a little quicker on getting the Rays a new ballpark.

Rays Principal Owner Stuart Sternberg has been working for nearly a decade to get a new stadium for the club and signed a three-year agreement with the City of St. Petersburg early in 2016 to search for a site in the Tampa Bay area. Manfred wants that search to pick up some steam.

“I think it’s fair to say we want the process to take on a better pace moving forward,” Manfred said Wednesday night at Tropicana Field, home of the Rays since their first season in 1998.

The Rays were averaging 15,815 fans per game before Wednesday night’s contest against the Toronto Blue Jays. That is just over half the major league average of 30,470. Tropicana Field and its location have been almost universally blamed as the reason for the poor attendance.

“I’ve been pretty clear that they need a new facility here, a major league quality facility in an A-plus location,” Manfred said. “It is time to move that decision to the front burner here in Tampa.”

The matter of how a stadium would be financed has been tabled until a site is determined, but Sternberg continued to express confidence in the Tampa Bay market.

“I’ve had the opportunity to bail on it many times over the years,” he said. “I won’t say this is a slam dunk, it’s certainly not. But I think we can do something that’ll at least double our attendance. That’s a lot to ask for.”

Manfred said Major League Baseball “doesn’t have a firm timetable” for what steps to take if the Rays fail to get an agreement to build a new stadium in the Tampa Bay area, but but added that “it is a topic of discussion in the industry, the lack of progress.”

More AP baseball: https://apnews.com/tag/MLBbaseball

Robinson Cano leaves game with hamstring tightness

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Bad news for the Mariners this evening: Robinson Cano left Seattle’s game against the Atlanta Braves with tightness in his left hamstring.

Cano walked off the field after legging out a double — his second of the game — in the third inning. He pulled up as he approached second base and walked off the field, accompanied by a trainer. There was no immediate word on the severity of the injury. The Mariners have a day off Thursday before opening a series at the Yankees on Friday night, so they have some time to evaluate him.

Cano is hitting .277/.377/.460 with 19 homers and 78 RBI on the year.