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Melancon working hard despite lost season

MLB.com

Continuing their odd-year tradition, the Giants won't be competing deep into October this season. The club's regular-season finale against the Padres on Oct. 1 will be their last contest of 2017; they've been eliminated from postseason contention as the National League West's last-place team.

But still, veteran reliever Mark Melancon continues to persevere through a nagging elbow injury. Melancon returned Saturday from his second stint on the disabled list for a right pronator strain and has tossed three scoreless one-inning appearances for the Giants since.

Continuing their odd-year tradition, the Giants won't be competing deep into October this season. The club's regular-season finale against the Padres on Oct. 1 will be their last contest of 2017; they've been eliminated from postseason contention as the National League West's last-place team.

But still, veteran reliever Mark Melancon continues to persevere through a nagging elbow injury. Melancon returned Saturday from his second stint on the disabled list for a right pronator strain and has tossed three scoreless one-inning appearances for the Giants since.

"I've had discomfort every day of this season," said Melancon, who also chatted with seven-time All-Star reliever Trevor Hoffman for this week's Bullpen Confessions presented by The Hartford. "Dating back to 2012, this has been an issue at some point every year. But it's always subsided."

Surgery remains an option for Melancon this offseason, and it wouldn't be unusual for the Giants to shut down a player with Melancon's pedigree to address the lingering issue as they've fallen out of contention. Instead, he's off the DL and aiming to rediscover the pitcher who collected 98 saves for the Pirates and Nationals over the last two seasons.

While the Giants have nothing left to play for in the 2017 standings, Melancon is hopeful a promising finish can help propel his club into a strong 2018 campaign.

"I want to be able to show that it's important to battle back and fight through," Melancon said. "I think we have a lot to prove this year still, even though we're not going to the playoffs. These next six or seven weeks blend into next year. We set the tone now for next year. It's important to continue that and set the foundation."

Melancon, who signed a four-year, $62 million deal in the offseason, has pitched in a setup role since his return with Sam Dyson filling in admirably as the Giants closer. For the year, Melancon owns a 3.65 ERA and has converted 11 saves in 15 chances. He's slated to receive more high-leverage innings in the season's final weeks, perhaps even reclaiming the closer's role.

"He's manning up," Giants head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner said last week. "I think that tells you how much he cares about the team."

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.

San Francisco Giants, Mark Melancon