2:55pm: Melancon spoke to reporters about his injury today and described the pain he’s feeling as similar to the pain he felt last season when a pronator strain limited him to 30 innings (Twitter link via Kerry Crowley of the San Jose Mercury News). More troubling is the fact that the right-hander revealed he cannot throw from more than 30 feet without experiencing pain.
Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area tweets that Melancon said he felt pain all spring when pitching, but the discomfort increased substantially when he attempted to pitch on consecutive days. He’ll see a specialist when the Giants are in Los Angeles.
11:11am: The Giants announced that they’ve placed Mark Melancon on the 10-day disabled list, retroactive to March 26, with a flexor strain in his right elbow. San Francisco also placed Rule 5 pick Julian Fernandez on the 60-day DL to open the season, clearing a 40-man spot to select the contract of outfielder Gregor Blanco, who’ll officially return for another stint with the Giants. With Melancon on the shelf, the Giants will likely look to Sam Dyson and Hunter Strickland as potential ninth-inning options.
It’s not yet clear how long Melancon will be sidelined, though he missed a significant portion of the 2017 season — his first with the Giants after signing a then-record four-year, $62MM contract — due to a pronator strain in his right forearm. Melancon posted a 4.50 ERA in just 30 innings with the Giants last season, though his peripheral numbers were considerably better, and fielding-independent metrics were far more bullish than his more rudimentary ERA (3.22 FIP, 3.24 SIERA).
Blanco, 34, was a mainstay with the Giants from 2012-16 before jumping to the D-backs last offseason. He impressed with a .303/.405/.576 slash in 43 plate appearances this spring, but he’s struggled to a .234/.323/.333 batting line across the past two big league campaigns. He’ll give manager Bruce Bochy some depth across the board in the outfield and a potential left-handed complement to Austin Jackson, Hunter Pence and/or Andrew McCutchen when needed.
Blanco’s addition to the roster means the Giants prospect Steven Duggar will open the season in the minors, though the organization hopes that Duggar will force his way into the mix later this season and hold down a long-term spot in the outfield.