© Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports
The San Francisco Giants were overjoyed on Wednesday when they saw Mark Melancon throw a perfect inning in his first appearance of spring training after undergoing season-ending surgery last year.
However, following the game, Melancon broke character and was honest about the uncertainty that awaits him this season.
“It’s progressing,” Melancon told the San Francisco Chronicle. “I don’t think we expected it to be perfect from Day 1. Part of having surgery is going through that.”
Was Melancon going through normal discomfort, or did he feel something in the affected area?
“It’s hard to tell the difference sometimes,” he said. “Discomfort is part of the process. I don’t view it as a negative thing. That’s part of it.”
While appearing on Murph & Mac Thursday morning, Mike Krukow praised the 32-year-old closer for opening up about the state of his arm.
“This year, look, Melancon has gone through Tommy John and he understands how an arm is supposed to feel,” Krukow said. “So, I think what we’re getting from him this year is honesty and I think that’s refreshing.”
In one inning of work in a game that ended in a 4-4 tie with the San Diego Padres, Melancon retired both young and old major league talents — rookie sensation Manuel Margot and veteran Wil Myers — along with prospect Raffy Lopez on two groundouts and a line-out.
It was the first time he took the mound since cutting off last season to only 30 innings, in which he held a 4.50 ERA and only 11 saves, to undergo pronator release surgery.
“One of the things that I think is significant is that there’s an honesty about his comments now, whereas in the past there wasn’t,” Krukow said. “In the past, he’d be asked, ‘how are you doing?’ and he’d say, ‘I’m good. Fine. Great. Let’s go. Give me the ball.’ Every great reliever, ‘just give me the ball’ and then when it doesn’t feel very good they make it work.”
Krukow went on to say that, “Rod Beck was maybe the greatest that I ever saw of that. He could go up there with nothing but an act and he’d get it done. That’s just the nature of the beast and it’s kind of a prerequisite of the personality you have to have as a closer.”
Nonetheless, the Giants are still roughly three weeks away from Spring Training and, at the moment, Krukow isn’t worried about Melancon.
“The key for him is, when he’s scheduled to throw, does he meet that date? Does he go out there and meet that date?” Krukow said. “If they start pushing him back off the days he’s supposed to throw, then I’m going to start being concerned about it, but right now I’m not. He had a 1-2-3 inning the other day, so that’s a good thing.”
To listen to the full interview check out the podcast below, and skip to 5:06 for Krukow on Melancon.