SEPT. 4: The problem that requires surgery is chronic compartment syndrome in Melancon’s forearm pronator muscle, according to Andrew Baggarly of the Mercury News. That has left him with a persistent feeling of tightness in the elbow joint, Baggarly explains, which a surgical procedure will relieve.
Melancon suggests he is hoping to wait until the season is over to go under the knife, though he notes it’s “literally day to day” as to when it’ll take place. (Basically, it seems, he’ll keep pitching unless the problem isn’t allowing him to do so regularly and tolerably.) The fairly unusual procedure is expected to require a two- to three-month layoff, so Melancon ought to be ready to go next spring regardless of when the surgery occurs.
SEPT. 1: Giants reliever Mark Melancon is likely to undergo forearm surgery relatively soon, manager Bruce Bochy told reporters including John Shea of the San Francisco Chronicle (via Twitter). It is not yet clear exactly when Melancon will stop pitching this year.
It still isn’t even known precisely what procedure the veteran righty is contemplating, beyond the fact that it’s to address a longstanding issue to his forearm. But Bochy said the recovery time is expected to be from six to eight weeks.
While the club isn’t concerned that Melancon could further injure himself by continuing to throw, it also wants to ensure that he has plenty of time to get healthy and ramp back up next spring. After all, the team has a long-term interest to protect and isn’t going anywhere in 2017. In the meantime, Sam Dyson will likely continue to operate as the close.
Melancon is under contract for three more years and $38MM after the end of the current season. There’s an opt-out opportunity after 2018, though at present that seems unlikely to be taken.
San Francisco will hope that Melancon can not only stay off the DL in 2018 and beyond but also that he can improve upon his current 3.95 ERA. He allowed just 1.80 earned per nine over the prior four seasons, setting up the big contract despite his relatively advanced age.
It is encouraging, at least, that Melancon has continued to post similar strikeout-to-walk (8.6 K/9 vs. 1.7 BB/9) and groundball (54.2%) numbers to those he carried in recent years. He has surrendered a few more hits (.358 BABIP-against) and homers (0.99 HR/9; 14.3% HR/FB) than is typical, helping to explain the difference in the bottom-line results.