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Lefty reliever Smith close to making return

Special to MLB.com

ANAHEIM -- Will Smith pitched one inning in relief for Triple-A Sacramento on Friday and could be a little more than a week away from his long-awaited return to the San Francisco Giants.

Friday's one-inning outing was Smith's second with Sacramento, after pitching twice with Class A San Jose. He has yet to allow a baserunner in two innings at Triple-A, striking out four of the six batters he has faced.

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ANAHEIM -- Will Smith pitched one inning in relief for Triple-A Sacramento on Friday and could be a little more than a week away from his long-awaited return to the San Francisco Giants.

Friday's one-inning outing was Smith's second with Sacramento, after pitching twice with Class A San Jose. He has yet to allow a baserunner in two innings at Triple-A, striking out four of the six batters he has faced.

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Smith was acquired for the stretch run in 2016 to help bolster the bullpen, then underwent Tommy John surgery before the start of the 2017 season and has been out of action ever since.

"It was a good outing, I think [16] pitches [Friday] night," Giants manager Bruce Bochy said before Saturday's game against the Angels. "The velocity is there, the command is there. We just have to have him go back to back at some point here next week. Maybe even go two innings. He's knocking on the door right now."

May 1 continues to be the projection for Smith's return to San Francisco. The left-hander had a 2.95 ERA for the Giants in 26 appearances down the stretch in 2016, striking out 26 with nine walks.

Smith led the National League with 78 appearances in 2014 with the Milwaukee Brewers, and has a 3.13 career ERA as a reliever in 225 appearances. He arrived in the Majors as a starter for the Royals in 2012.

Smith is scheduled to work out with the Giants when the team returns home on Monday, then head out for what is expected to be his final few rehab appearances.

"It's going very well with him," Bochy said.

Melancon continues to make progress

Reliever Mark Melancon is scheduled to play catch next week when the Giants return home from the current road trip. The right-hander has been on the disabled list since the start of the season after having a stem-cell injection in his forearm in March.

Video: KC@SF: Melancon gets O'Hearn looking in the 7th

Melancon had forearm surgery in September of last year, going on the DL twice last season. He was 11-for-16 in save opportunities and posted a 4.50 ERA in 32 games in his first season with the Giants, after he signed a four-year, $62 million contract.

Doug Padilla is a contributor to MLB.com.

San Francisco Giants, Will Smith