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Melancon could need offseason surgery

MLB.com @sfgiantsbeat

SAN FRANCISCO -- Despite enduring physical challenges, facing the possibility of arm surgery and being usurped as the Giants' closer, right-hander Mark Melancon is striving to focus on his most basic task -- pitching -- while these issues swirl around him.

The Giants plucked Melancon from free agency last offseason by giving him a four-year, $62 million contract. Given the club's considerable struggles and Melancon's two trips to the disabled list with a right pronator strain, it's fair to say this year has been a distressing one for all parties concerned.

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SAN FRANCISCO -- Despite enduring physical challenges, facing the possibility of arm surgery and being usurped as the Giants' closer, right-hander Mark Melancon is striving to focus on his most basic task -- pitching -- while these issues swirl around him.

The Giants plucked Melancon from free agency last offseason by giving him a four-year, $62 million contract. Given the club's considerable struggles and Melancon's two trips to the disabled list with a right pronator strain, it's fair to say this year has been a distressing one for all parties concerned.

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This story will continue to develop through the rest of the season. Giants head athletic trainer Dave Groeschner acknowledged Friday that Melancon, 32, might require offseason surgery to fix his arm fully. Nobody divulged much about the possible procedure, though Melancon indicated that, after years of stoicism, he needs to heal.

"I've had discomfort every day of this season," said Melancon, 1-2 with a 3.80 ERA and 11 saves in 15 chances. "Dating back to 2012, this has been an issue at some point every year. But it's always subsided."

Said Groeschner, "We're talking about [surgery]. I think we have a good idea. But until we're ready to do something, he's pitching, and we'll go from there."

Like many athletes, Melancon, who amassed 98 saves for Pittsburgh and Washington in 2015-16, remains physically able to perform despite his malady. Entering Friday night's game against Philadelphia, Melancon had made three consecutive scoreless one-inning appearances since returning from his second DL stint. However, he filled a setup role each time. Sam Dyson, whom the Giants obtained from Texas, steadily established himself as San Francisco's closer in Melancon's absence and converted 10 of his first 11 save chances.

Giants manager Bruce Bochy has said Melancon will gradually inherit more high-leverage situations. Asked if he felt effective enough to close games, Melancon said, "Sam's doing great. That's something we'll talk about. I want him to continue to do well."

Melancon's competitive instincts rose to the surface when he was asked why he persists in pitching for a last-place ballclub when he could otherwise use this time to address his troublesome arm.

"That's a good question," Melancon said. "... I want to be able to show that it's important to battle back and fight through. 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's approach has earned him respect among the Giants.

"He's manning up," said Groeschner, echoing remarks that right-hander Jeff Samardzija made one night earlier. "You have to give him a lot of credit. ... I think that tells you how much he cares about the team."

"He wants to help the team and do what he can because he's able to," 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