Drew Silva

Spring Training Daily

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ST Daily: Giant Issues

Wednesday, March 28, 2018


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Something’s definitely up with Mark Melancon.


The veteran closer was scratched from a scheduled appearance in an exhibition game Tuesday night against the A’s because -- as Alex Pavlovic of NBC Sports Bay Area put it -- he is still “feeling something” in his surgically-repaired right arm.


Melancon underwent a procedure last September to release pressure on the pronator muscle in his forearm after posting a disappointing 4.50 ERA in just 32 appearances for the Giants in 2017. He acknowledged there was lingering discomfort after his 2018 Cactus League debut on March 7, and it apparently hasn’t gone away over the last three weeks. Giants manager Bruce Bochy said Tuesday that it’s too early to tell whether Melancon will open the season on the disabled list, but that decision will have to be made by Thursday morning and it sure doesn’t look good for the 32-year-old right-hander.


Sam Dyson did most of the filling in at closer last year when Melancon got hurt and he could be the top option to fill in again, though Tony Watson and Hunter Strickland have strong cases too -- maybe stronger. Watson earned 30 saves during his time in Pittsburgh and Strickland boasts a career 2.64 ERA with one of the highest strikeout rates on the staff. Perhaps the Giants will simply play the matchups until somebody emerges as trustworthy. There should be a little more clarity about this situation Wednesday -- definitely by Thursday afternoon.


Melancon signed a four-year, $62 million free agent deal with San Francisco in December 2016. That contract contains an opt-out for after this season, which we’re going to bet he won’t use.



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McMahon Makes Rockies’ Roster


When the Rockies re-signed veteran outfielder Carlos Gonzalez to a one-year, $8 million contract on March 12, it looked like top first base prospect Ryan McMahon might be the odd man out for Colorado’s Opening Day roster -- the thinking being that Ian Desmond would command the majority of playing time at first base out of the gate, with McMahon heading back to Triple-A. But the kid could not be denied.


McMahon slashed .328/.375/.537 over 72 plate appearances this spring in the Cactus League and was informed Tuesday by Rockies manager Bud Black that he will accompany the team to Arizona’s Chase Field for Thursday night’s season-opener against the Diamondbacks.


McMahon, a left-handed hitter, is expected to begin the year making regular starts at first base against right-handed opponents, with either Desmond or Gerardo Parra playing left field. Arizona is throwing southpaw Patrick Corbin on Thursday, so it’s unclear if McMahon will get the Opening Day nod. But he could push his way into the lineup against southpaws as the season rolls along, if he’s doing big things off of righties. Desmond finished 10-for-47 (.213) this spring and is at risk of becoming a platoon player in the second year of a five-year, $70 million deal. This will also cut into Gerardo Parra’s playing time and it further blocks David Dahl. But back to the beneficiary ...


McMahon put up a .355 batting average, .986 OPS, 20 home runs, 80 RBI, 11 stolen bases, and 74 runs scored in 119 games last season between Double-A Hartford and Triple-A Albuquerque. The 23-year-old is worth stashing in all fantasy formats and worth starting in many.

 

 

Boxberger Named D’Backs Closer


Archie Bradley looked poised to take over as the Diamondbacks’ closer this year after registering a dominant 1.73 ERA with 79 strikeouts in 69 appearances as a setup man in 2017, but manager Torey Lovullo announced Tuesday that he’s going with Brad Boxberger as his ninth-inning man so that he can keep Bradley in a more flexible multi-inning role.


It is probably the smart baseball decision, but it’s certainly a gut-punch for folks who already spent an early-to-mid round pick on Bradley this spring in leagues that don’t count holds.


Arizona acquired Boxberger in November from Tampa Bay, where he led the American League in saves in 2015 and posted a 3.38 ERA, 1.16 WHIP, and 40/11 K/BB ratio across 29 1/3 innings in 2017. He battled core and oblique injuries in the first half last year and if those issues resurface the Diamondbacks might try newcomer Yoshihisa Hirano at closer before giving consideration to Bradley. They really believe in using him as a bridge to the ninth inning, picking up most of the high-leverage situations that come along between the sixth and eighth.



Quick Hits: Red Sox manager Alex Cora confirmed Tuesday that Rafael Devers (knee) will be in the lineup for Opening Day on Thursday … Jose Ramirez suffered a laceration on his left middle finger during Tuesday’s exhibition game against the Diamondbacks but is expected to be in the Indians’ lineup on Opening Day … Cardinals breakout candidate Luke Weaver went three scoreless innings in an exhibition start against the Blue Jays, finishing the spring with a 0.55 ERA … Nationals placed second baseman Daniel Murphy on the 10-day disabled list with a right knee injury … Jeff Samardzija (pectoral) is scheduled to resume playing catch on Wednesday … Athletics top pitching prospect A.J. Puk will undergo Tommy John reconstructive elbow surgery … Marlins placed catcher J.T. Realmuto on the 10-day disabled list with a bone bruise in his back … Ian Kinsler is questionable for the Angels’ regular-season opener due to groin tightness … Diamondbacks placed outfielder Steven Souza on the 10-day disabled list with a right pectoral strain … Zach Britton (heel) is reportedly on track to join the Orioles in early June … Andrew Heaney (elbow) threw a bullpen session Tuesday in Angels camp … Lance Lynn is slated to make his Twins debut next Monday against the Pirates … Mariners signed veteran outfielder Jayson Werth to a minor league contract … Cardinals pitching prospect Jordan Hicks has made the Opening Day bullpen … Troy Tulowitzki is scheduled to see an ankle specialist on Wednesday … Caleb Smith will start the second game of the season for the Marlins on Friday against the Cubs … Shelby Miller (elbow) incorporated breaking balls in a 35-pitch bullpen session on Tuesday … Dillon Peters will open the 2018 season as the Marlins' No. 4 starter … Marlins placed starters Dan Straily (forearm) and Wei-Yin Chen (elbow) on the 10-day disabled list … Indians signed utility infielder Adam Rosales to a minor league contract … Padres released veteran right-hander Chris Young.



Drew Silva is a baseball editor for Rotoworld and also contributes on NBC Sports' Hardball Talk. He can be found on Twitter.
Email :Drew Silva



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