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Jameson Taillon dealing with back issue, Opening Day status in the air

Jameson Taillon dealing with back issue, Opening Day status in the air originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Chicago Cubs pitcher Jameson Taillon was scratched from a scheduled start in Arizona this weekend, and there is some concern that the hurler may not be ready for Opening Day.

Taillon is dealing with lower back tightness, and manager Craig Counsell said that there wasn’t much improvement a day after he was scratched from a start that would have marked his Cactus League debut.

“Probably not the improvement we were hoping for,” Counsell told reporters, including Maddie Lee of the Chicago Sun-Times.

Multiple reporters, including The Athletic’s Sahadev Sharma, say that while Counsell didn’t anticipate a “long-term absence,” the team considers Taillon’s status for Opening Day to be in jeopardy.

Taillon signed a four-year deal with the Cubs prior to the 2023 season, and is hoping to bounce back after a rough campaign with the North Siders last season. In 154 innings of work, Taillon had an 8-10 record and a 4.84 ERA in 30 appearances, with 140 strikeouts.

The Cubs likely won't need a fifth starter for quite some time due to off-days, but if they need a spot start during a Taillon absence they would likely turn to Drew Smyly for that role given their current roster construction.

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