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Rotation replacements set to start for D-backs, Pirates

PITTSBURGH -- Pirates right-hander Jameson Taillon made his first rehab start Sunday on the way back from surgery to treat testicular cancer.

Taillon said he would make at least one more rehab start before returning to the Pittsburgh rotation, but it seems likely that despite his surgery being less than three weeks distant, he will be back sooner than later.

That means the window to impress as a starter may be closing for Trevor Williams.

Williams (2-3, 5.93 ERA) replaced Taillon in the rotation when the latter was placed on the disabled list and has gone 1-2 with a 6.27 ERA filing in. Those aren't fantastic numbers and are worse than the figures Williams put up as a long reliever earlier in the season, but they do compare favorable to some of the other Pirates' starters.

Tyler Glasnow gave up five runs in five innings on Sunday to leave him 2-4 with a 6.95 ERA in 10 starts. Chad Kuhl is 1-5 with a 6.29 ERA. So when Williams faces the Arizona Diamondbacks on Monday, he will have a chance to make his case to remain in the starting staff -- something general manager Neal Huntington wouldn't rule out on Sunday.

"Obviously, we're thinking about it in the background and we're thinking about it internally, but not ready to begin to talk about that publicly at this point," he said.

Williams had one of his best outings of the season against the Diamondbacks on May 13. In his only career appearance against the club, he gave up one run and struck out four in five innings.

Williams' mound opponent Monday at PNC Park will be in a similar situation. Randall Delgado was forced into a starting role when Taijuan Walker landed on the disabled list with a blister on his right index finger on May 21.

Delgado (1-0, 3.82 ERA) has made some spots starts but hasn't been a regular member of a rotation since 2013, when he went 5-7 with a 4.26 ERA in 19 starts. He will be making his 50th major league start, and the way he handled his last one gave manager Torey Lovullo the confidence to give him the ball again.

"He's been locked in and throwing the ball very well," Lovullo said to Arizona Sports after making the decision on Friday.

His last time out, Delgado pitched four innings and allowed two runs (one earned) against the Chicago White Sox on Wednesday. He set season highs in innings pitched and pitches thrown (61).

Delgado has faced the Pirates 14 times in his career and is 0-1 with a 4.95 ERA. In three innings against Pittsburgh this season, he has allowed no runs on three hits and no walks while striking out two.

The Diamondbacks originally thought Walker would only have to miss one start, but the blister was still bothering him when he tried it out. He is expected to throw a simulated game Monday or Tuesday in Pittsburgh.

Arizona split a weekend series at Milwaukee, winning the first two before falling 6-1 on Saturday and 9-5 on Sunday. Pittsburgh lost two of three over the weekend to the visiting New York Mets, dropping a 7-2 decision Sunday night.