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Melancon cautious after first spring action

Giants closer 'still progressing' in recovery from forearm surgery
MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Following right forearm surgery, an offseason of recovery and a 1-2-3 inning in his Cactus League debut Wednesday, Giants closer Mark Melancon wasn't quite sure how to summarize the state of his throwing arm.

"I think it's part of having surgery," said Melancon, 32. "Going through rust. That's why I say we're still progressing. It's in motion."

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SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Following right forearm surgery, an offseason of recovery and a 1-2-3 inning in his Cactus League debut Wednesday, Giants closer Mark Melancon wasn't quite sure how to summarize the state of his throwing arm.

"I think it's part of having surgery," said Melancon, 32. "Going through rust. That's why I say we're still progressing. It's in motion."

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Spring Training information

Melancon affirmed that he expects to be the Giants' closer on Opening Day.

"That's how we're going about it," he said.

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Melancon looked mostly sharp while pitching the fifth inning of the Giants' 4-4, 10-inning tie with the San Diego Padres. He cited the joy of pitching competitively and mentioned that his changeup worked well against the Padres.

Melancon, who signed a four-year, $62 million contract before last season, has been treated carefully this spring due to the procedure he underwent last Sept. 12 to relieve compression in his forearm.

Asked whether enough time remains in Spring Training for him to pass a reliever's preseason tests, particularly pitching on back-to-back days, Melancon replied, "There hasn't been one spring where I feel like I had enough time. I'm progressing. I don't think you can expect everything to be perfect Day 1. We're taking it slow. So we're still progressing."

Did he mean that in terms of command and performance or simply based on how his arm feels?

"Both," he said.

Asked whether he was experiencing discomfort or "[felt] something in there," Melancon said, "It's hard to tell the difference sometimes. Is discomfort part of the process? I don't know. I believe it is. It's just part of the process. I don't view it as a negative thing."

Addressing whether his surgery achieved its objective -- to relieve the compression in his throwing arm -- Melancon again sounded cautious.

"I think it's still early, so it's hard to say one way or the other on that," he said. "We're still going through the process."

The Giants likely would use right-hander Sam Dyson or left-hander Tony Watson as co-closers if Melancon were sidelined for any considerable length of time. His forearm ailment forced him to go on the disabled list twice last year, when he finished 1-2 with a 4.50 ERA and 11 saves in 16 opportunities.

"I'd be comfortable with either one," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said.

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.

San Francisco Giants, Mark Melancon