Mark Melancon is hurt again, and this should come as no surprise because: 1) the Giants signed him knowing he was a massive injury risk and 2) he was already a question mark to make the Opening Day roster.
Giants are calling it a right elbow flexor strain for Melancon. All spring, he said he felt something in that surgically repaired arm.— Alex Pavlovic (@PavlovicNBCS) March 29, 2018
It’s always a good sign when a pitcher’s elbow is hurting. Those are always fixed with rest and rehab and never, ever develop into something worse. So, the Giants should expect to have him back in time to face the Diamondbacks, who, as you’ll recall, greeted him in his debut as a Giant with a blown save.
The Moronta for Melancon injury swap is nothing new for the Giants. Grant wrote about it last season! From that impromptu scouting report (in case you’d forgotten everything about Moronta):
The right-handed Moronta was added to the 40-man roster this winter, despite having never pitched above Class-A, because he threw in the high-90s and joined the 100-mph club last year. Someone was going to take him in the Rule 5 draft because they would have figured he could survive in the majors. And, look at that, the Giants are hoping he can survive in the majors.
As you would expect from someone who throws hard, Moronta racks up strikeouts. The Giants took it very slow with him, keeping him in Rookie League until he was 22, and even then placing him in Low Class-A. A promotion to San Jose last year was the turning point in his career, and he struck out 93 batters in 59 innings. The control (3.2 BB/9 over the last two years) and command aren’t ideal yet, but he’s compensated with stuff.
Still, if he pitches more than 5 innings over this next week, you know the Giants are in trouble.
So, who closes over the next 10 days? To answer that question, you must first accept the premise that the Giants are going to find themselves having to manage save situations, which seems highly unlikely. Hunter Strickland was brilliant this spring, Sam Dyson was effective in spots as the closer last season, but neither guy has shown he can be consistent in the role (or, at least in Dyson’s case, as a Giant). Basically, we’ll see. But don’t be surprised if Tony Watson is out there facing Cody Bellinger in the ninth inning.