Melancon plans to return strong next season

Melancon plans to return strong next season

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants right-hander Mark Melancon expects to experience a relatively typical offseason despite undergoing surgery on his valuable throwing arm.

And once Melancon picks up a baseball around mid-December, when he usually begins his throwing program, he'll prepare mentally and physically with the likelihood of resuming his role as the Giants' closer, which is what the club intended when they signed him to a four-year, $62 million deal last offseason.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy indicated Melancon will regain the responsibility of protecting ninth-inning leads, though Sam Dyson entered Tuesday's Giants-Rockies series opener with 13 saves in 14 chances.

"I haven't sat down and talked to [Melancon]. I don't think I really need to," Bochy said. "He's going to know what his role is going to be. Right now, the focus is on getting him healthy."

That process should accelerate when Melancon resumes throwing.

"It should be a normal offseason. And that's what we wanted," head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said.

Melancon, 32, endured two stints on the disabled list with a strained right pronator, prompting surgeons in Los Angeles to release the fascia around his pronator in last Tuesday's procedure.

"They [said] it's one of those things that's probably been there for a long time," said Melancon, who converted 11 saves in 16 chances this year while posting a 1-2 record and a 4.50 ERA in 32 appearances. "I felt similar pain in years past, but it always seemed to subside."

The Giants are excited about their 2018 bullpen, assuming smooth recoveries for Melancon and left-hander Will Smith, who's sidelined for this season after Tommy John elbow surgery.

"Come Spring Training, I think we're going to have the makings of a very good bullpen," Bochy said. "With what Sam Dyson has done for us, you look at how Strick [Hunter Strickland] is throwing the ball and you've got Will Smith. As far as roles, that's something I'll talk about later with all of these guys."

Chris Haft has covered the Giants since 2005, and for 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.