SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Giants pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon are listed among six pitchers on the Team USA designated pitcher pool, meaning that the pair is eligible to play in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.Giants general manager Bobby Evans told MLB.com on Sunday before his club
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. - Giants pitchers Jeff Samardzija and Mark Melancon are listed among six pitchers on the Team USA designated pitcher pool, meaning that the pair is eligible to play in the second round of the World Baseball Classic.
Giants general manager Bobby Evans told MLB.com on Sunday before his club played the D-backs at Scottsdale Stadium that Samardzija's participation is problematic, but that Melancon is available if the U.S. needs him.
:: 2017 World Baseball Classic ::
"It's much easier to fit for a reliever," Evans said.
As far as Samardzija is concerned, he's pitching Monday night against the Rangers at Surprise Stadium and his rotation schedule doesn't sync with the Pool F bracket, which runs from Tuesday to next Sunday at San Diego's Petco Park. Samardzija was a free-agent signing by the Giants prior to the 2016 season and Melancon was added over the winter to close when he inked a four-year, $62 million contract.
Team USA defeated Canada in Marlins Park on Sunday to ascend into the next round. The Giants already have catcher Buster Posey and shortstop Brandon Crawford participating for the U.S. in the Pool C bracket. Both are expected to play for the duration.
WBC 2017 rosters can be adjusted between each round.
"We'll take it one day at time, but it's not an easy fit for us based on his schedule," Evans said about Samardzija. "We're in touch with Major League Baseball about the challenges it would present. That's probably all I can safely say."
The situation illustrates how tough it is for the U.S. to entice frontline starters to pitch for the team in the tournament, the fourth in baseball history.
Earlier in the spring, Giants left-hander Madison Bumgarner said he declined to participate, but added he might accept a spot in the designated pitcher pool in the future. In a new rule enacted before this year's tournament, any team can designate up to 10 pitchers each round to reserve an active roster spot for that pitcher in later rounds.
In the current pool, Samardzija and Melancon are on the list along with Brett Cecil, J.A. Happ, Jake Odorizzi and Alex Wilson. Chris Archer, Marcus Stroman, Danny Duffy, Tanner Roark and Drew Smyly are the active starting pitchers
Samardzija told MLB.com on Sunday he'd be thrilled to pitch for the U.S. in the tournament.
"Of course, I want to play; otherwise I wouldn't have agreed to do it," Samardzija said. "Right now, it's out of my hands. We'll just determine it as these days go on. You don't want to get too far ahead of yourself. I'll continue to work here and see what happens. I've got a schedule in camp. Let's see if we can get things to line up. If it does, that would be great."
The U.S. bullpen currently is made up of Tyler Clippard, Player Page for David Robertson, Luke Gregerson, Pat Neshek, Jake McGee and Andrew Miller, who blew Friday night's game when Nelson Cruz hit a three-run, eighth-inning homer. The defending champion Dominican Republic erased a 5-0 deficit and won, 8-5.
"If the U.S. wants to add Melancon for the next round, it's completely up to them," Evans said.
Barry M. Bloom is a national reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog, Boomskie on Baseball. Follow @boomskie on Twitter.