Jameson Taillon, a 25-year-old Pirates pitcher, had plenty of time to think these past three weeks. Days of doubt and soul-searching followed after he discovered a cancerous lump while in a Cincinnati hotel room the night of May 3. He underwent surgery for testicular cancer five days later, and baseball went on the back burner for the foreseeable future.

Taillon’s timeline for a return to the pitcher’s mound was uncertain. At that time, no one would have bet he’d pitch professionally so soon after a cancer diagnosis. But on Sunday, 19 days after surgery, Taillon threw three scoreless innings in his first rehab start for Class AA Altoona. The outing was remarkably normal: six strikeouts, one hit, one walk, nine over-matched hitters.

“It was therapeutic,” Taillon said after his start in Erie. “The pitching mound — not to sound corny — is where I feel most comfortable. That’s where I spend a lot of my time. That’s my job.”

In recent days, Taillon reached out to other players who have come back to baseball after cancer. He asked for their advice. His treatment plan has not included chemotherapy, and doctors continue to administer blood tests regularly. Those close to Taillon encouraged him.

“My dad basically just said, ‘You’re a baseball player. You’ve played since you were little. If it’s safe to be out there, I think that’s what you should do. But if it’s going to provide stress and not help you through this time, I wouldn’t do it,’ “ Taillon said. “So here I am. That’s the answer.”

Taillon isn’t a stranger to injury. He missed chunks of time in the minor leagues because of Tommy John ligament-replacement elbow surgery and a hernia surgery. The first starts after those injuries felt different than this one, he said. Since he wasn’t out for long this time, his pitches were sharper, which allowed him to relax and soak in the emotions surrounding the game.

“The past couple weeks have been a roller coaster,” he said. “I definitely appreciated being out there.”

Taillon, who drove to and from Erie on Sunday with Pirates athletic trainer Bryan Housand, is scheduled to throw a bullpen session Tuesday in Pittsburgh. He’s not sure where his next start will be. He expects there will “definitely” be at least one more start in the minors.

Trout sprains thumb

Los Angeles Angels star Mike Trout sprained his thumb stealing second base and left Sunday’s game in the sixth inning. For the Angels, their 9-2 loss at Miami became a secondary concern. X-rays were negative, and Trout is scheduled to have an MRI Monday.

Around the bases

The Houston Astros placed right-hander Charlie Morton on the 10-day disabled list with a strained muscle in his back. … Chicago White Sox right-hander Miguel Gonzalez lost his bid for a perfect game against the Detroit Tigers in the seventh inning