Giants place Melancon on disabled list

Giants place Melancon on disabled list

NEW YORK -- The Giants' list of woes lengthened significantly Tuesday when they announced they had placed closer Mark Melancon on the 10-day disabled list with a mild right pronator strain.

Giants general manager Bobby Evans said Melancon's DL assignment was retroactive to Saturday. The right-hander will be eligible for activation May 16, and he expects to be ready when that time comes. The pronator is a forearm muscle that helps flex the elbow.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy said right-hander Derek Law and left-handers Steven Okert and Josh Osich will handle closing chores in Melancon's absence.

Melancon, who went on the disabled list for the first time in his eight-year Major League career, said he began feeling discomfort during the mid- to late-Spring Training timeframe.

"It was one of those things that [wasn't] bad enough to do anything but treat on a daily basis," Melancon said after the Giants' 6-1 loss to the Mets, San Francisco's eighth setback in 10 games.

The discomfort finally became impossible for Melancon to control or ignore last week.

"If I'm not at full strength, I could end up hurting us more," Melancon said. "And I'm leaving the bullpen a man short, or half a man short, if I continue to go like this."

Melancon made his most recent appearance last Wednesday at Los Angeles, where he recorded his sixth save in eight chances. He then underwent an MRI in Cincinnati last weekend, when inflammation was discovered.

Nothing seemed unusual about Melancon's recent inactivity. As the Giants' closer, Melancon usually pitched when the Giants needed to protect a lead. And, with San Francisco slumping toward the worst record in the Major Leagues, Melancon had received relatively few save opportunities. In 11 appearances, he was 0-1 with a 2.53 ERA, 10 strikeouts and one walk in 10 2/3 innings.

In retrospect, there were two ominous signs about Melancon's well-being: Opponents were batting .302 off him, and Bochy did not use him in a save situation at Los Angeles on May 1. Bochy explained he wanted the 32-year-old to avoid exhaustion, since he had appeared in four of the previous five games.

In what was then regarded a coup in the free-agent market, the Giants signed Melancon last December to a four-year, $62 million contract. The three-time All-Star amassed 98 saves in 2015-16.

A corresponding roster move to fill Melancon's spot on the active roster will be announced Wednesday.

Zinkie on Melancon injury

Fantasy spin | Fred Zinkie (@FredZinkieMLB)
Although Melancon has disappointed to some degree this season (2.53 ERA, 1.31 WHIP) after recording a 1.93 ERA, a 0.90 WHIP and 131 saves from 2014-16, he should be retained in all leagues given his track record. Melancon owners who need a saves source should immediately look at new Tigers closer Justin Wilson (1.32 ERA, 0.59 WHIP in '17) while also checking on the availability of a more established stopper like Brandon Maurer or Brandon Kintzler. The Giants' Derek Law (career 2.19 ERA, 1.09 WHIP) may also be a useful addition, as he is expected to see the bulk of the save chances with Melancon out.

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for MLB.com since 2007. Follow him on Twitter at @sfgiantsbeat and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.