SATURDAY: The injury is to Melancon’s forearm, Schulman writes. The Giants believe that the risk of further injury will not increase if Melancon continues pitching, so he will continue to do so for now while he weighs his options. Whether Melancon pursues surgery or rehab, the team’s goal is for him to be completely ready for Spring Training.
FRIDAY: Giants reliever Mark Melancon is considering undergoing surgery, he told reporters today, including Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (links to Twitter). The veteran righty declined to disclose the precise nature of the injury, but did indicate it is not an elbow ligament problem.
Whatever the malady, it has evidently plagued Melancon for quite some time. He says the problem has arisen from time to time dating back to 2012. This year, though, it has been a bigger concern. Melancon says he has dealt with “discomfort every day this season.” (Via MLB.com’s Chris Haft, on Twitter.)
It seems the decision has yet to be made, with the possibility of a procedure and also its timing still being weighed. Melancon noted that he wants to keep pitching down the stretch this year, even if there’s no hope of a postseason berth, because the club hopes to gain some momentum for a rebound in 2018.
Clearly, though, having a healthy and effective Melancon for the season to come will be the priority. He has not been at his best since landing in San Francisco over the winter on a four-year, $62MM free-agent pact. The 32-year-old has dealt with injury issues in or around the elbow joint, limiting him to 23 2/3 innings of 3.80 ERA ball this season.
There are both signs of optimism and of worry in Melancon’s 2017 stat sheet. He carries 7.6 K/9 and 1.1 BB/9, with a 17.2% K%-BB% that’s right in line with his outstanding work over the prior four seasons. His average fastball velocity has actually been up a bit after trending down over the past two years. On the other hand, Melancon has dropped back to a 9.6% swinging-strike rate — falling shy of double-digits for the first time since his last non-dominant campaign (in 2012, with the Red Sox).